The third installment of I Used to Love H.E.R., a series in which artists/bloggers/writers discuss their most essential hip-hop albums (read intro), is written by LA-based emcee Pigeon John, a newcomer to the Quannum roster with his recently released Pigeon John and the Summertime Pool Party, available at eMusic. Much like the album and group he writes about, Pigeon John exudes an easygoing and sometimes humorous style that still makes a relevant point. … And the Summertime Pool Party includes “scenes,” much like De La Soul’s habit of conceptual skits.
mp3: Download Higher?! from … And the Summertime Pool Party.
De La Soul Is Dead (Tommy Boy, 1991)
Produced by De La Soul and Prince Paul
“I’d have to say that De La Soul’s De La Soul Is Dead is probably the most potent hip-hop CD in my collection. It was beautiful and tragic, that album. They dropped it right after their biggest cross over debut 3 Feet High and Rising, which pretty much redefined what hip-hop was and could be in 1989. They hit a bunch of success with their first record and hit Me, Myself and I, so much that people wrote them off as “hippie rappers,” “postive” and “soft.” Silence was loud when they gone. Then out of nowhere … BAM, De La Soul Is Dead. An international response to their international backlash.
“They were the first to make fun of themselves, use the weirdest samples imagined and break ground with almost every song and verse they laid. There was no one like them. No one.
“My favorite song on that record was Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa, a document of a young high school girl who was being molested by her dad. The same dad that all her friends thought was the coolest dad in town. She tried to tell her friends what was happening and everyone wrote her off and said she was bugging. The abuse continued until this young lady went into the same mall her dad worked as a makeshift Santa during the holidays. She confronts him. Then calmly, in the cold broad day, shoots her father in the middle of the mall. The song was written like a gossip letter by one of her friends that didn’t believe her. Now come on man … that’s hip hop. The first time I got chills listening to rap.
“Now think about what the average rap song is about today and you will see how stark and ahead of their time they were. And they were only 21 when it came out.
“De La Soul broke ground wherever they walked. In the way they dressed and styled (if you have dreads today, they are the reason you do), and the way they rapped, made beats and wrote concepts. De La Soul Is Dead will forever be my goal. The perfect balance between humor and tragedy … big up to De La and their 18-year career (another ground-break in rap).”
De La Soul |
Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa
De La Soul |
Millie Pulled a Piston on Santa (full mix)
(From Millie “cassingle”)
(On a side note, I’m really stoked that Pigeon John picked Millie as his favorite track. For a public speaking course I took at Arizona State, we had to do an oral reading of a poem. I picked De La’s Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa, successfully convincing my professor that hip-hop is poetry.)