DJ Phatrick

Classic of the Day: De La Soul – “I Am I Be”

De La Soul is my second favorite hip hop group trailing millimeters behind Outkast (and miles ahead of Anticon). Emcees Posdnous (Plug 1), Trugoy the Dove (Plug 2), and DJ Maceo (Plug 3) were lightyears ahead of their time both conceptually, lyrically, AND musically.

Posdnous is the most underated emcee still living. For the untrained hip hop ear, he might not have the instant rhythmic gratification or stylistic swing of his Native Tongues brethren Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip, but nothing comes close to the simple complexity (sue me, i’m not a writer) that makes his lyrics so powerful. And the Trugoy? The avant-garde nonsensical (usually white) emcees you struggle to decipher nowadays are just extremely defected clones of him.

De La Soul – “I Am I Be”

In a year where you had “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” blastin’ outta LA, “93 til’ Infinity” slappin’ outta the Bay, and “Protect Your Neck” murdering the world’s ears, it’s no surprise that De La Soul’s third album, Buhloone Mindstate (the last with Prince Paul on production), which “I Am I Be” comes from, was a commercial failure. Yet, listen to it side by side with The Chronic, 36 Chambers, or even Midnight Marauders, and you’ll get what I’m saying about De La Soul being ahead of its time…hopefully.

Peep Posdnous’s first vrs:

I am Posdnous
I be the new generation of slaves
here to make papes to buy a record exec rakes
the pile of revenue I create
But I guess I don’t get a cut cuz my rent’s a month late
Product of a North Carolina cat
who scratched the back of a pretty woman named Hattie
Who departed life just a little too soon
and didn’t see me grab the Plug Tune fame
As we go a little somethin’ like this
look ma, no protection
Now I got a daughter named Ayana Monay
And I can play the cowboy to rustle in the dough
so the scenery is healthy where her eyes lay
I am an early bird but the feathers are black
so the apples that I catch are usually all worms
But it’s a must to decipher one’s queen
from a worm who plays groupie and spread around the bad germ
I cherish the twilight
I maximize, my soul is the right size
I watch for the power to run out on the moon
(And that’ll be sometime soon)
Faker than a fist of kids
speakin that they’re black
When they’re just niggas trying to be Greek
Or some tongues who lied
and said “We’ll be natives to the end”
Nowadays we don’t even speak
I guess we got our own life to live
Or is it because we want our own kingdom to rule?
Every now and then I step to the now
for now I see back then I might have acted like a fool
Now I won’t apologize for it
This is not a bunch of Bradys
but a bunch of black man’s pride
Yet I can safely say
I’ve never played a sister by touching where her private parts reside
I’ve always walked the right side of the road
If I wasn’t making song I wouldn’t be a thug selling drugs
But a man with a plan
and if I was a rug cleaner
betcha Pos’d have the cleanest rugs I am.

BONUS: Lou Rawls – “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”

“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” sung by Lou Rawls, produced by David Axelrod, is one of the samples Prince Paul used for “I Am I Be.” The horns you hear are actually legendary funk and jazz veterans Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and Pee Wee Ellis, who played for James Brown and Parliament/Funkadelic, recorded live. De La Soul: Ahead. Of. Their. Time.

PS: Buhloone Mindstate also features Japanese MCs SDP and Takagi Kan rappin’ in Japanese on “Long Island Wildin’;” being one of the first major hip hop albums to feature Asian emcees! YEE!


6 Comments so far
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one of the dopest verses ever.

“the engine to my comprehension is just too complex…”

Comment by Kiwi

damn phatty…

i didn’t know we shared a mind like that. this is my favorite verse ever. every couplet has at least one bare-ass honest confession about his life.

pos is EASILY the most underrated emcee ever imo…

Comment by giles

[…] thing going on here. Recently, there’s been several posts about De La Soul, including mine. No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI […]

Pingback by Read of the Day: Smoking Section interview with Prince Paul « DJ Phatrick

[…] my favorite De La Soul album…which is a hard one to pick cuz of my love for all things De La, as you well know. But “A Roller Skate Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” is easily one of my favorite De […]

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This was a really enjoyable post. Buhloone mindstate was an incredible album. Every track meant something to me, especially the one mentioned above (“i am i be”). Thanks for this

Comment by 10thdimension

I’ve had the Buhlune mindstate album since about ’94. I never really appreciated the album until last week when I listened to “I am I be” Pos is definitly underated. Thsat 1st verse speaks volumes. The line in the 3rd verse “I am for peace, not from the flower, but from the Asalaam -Ailaikum, I am” just sent goosebumps up my spine. Truth recognizes truth.

Much love for De la.

Comment by Blackwatch

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