In 1989, De La Soul introduced themselves with their excellent debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, which helped flip the sound of hip-hop upside down with its quirky subject-matter and innovative production qualities.
The Long Island, N.Y. trio — comprised of Posdnuos (aka Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy (aka David Jolicoeur) and DJ/producer Maseo (aka Vincent Mason Jr.) — would become wildly popular among listeners who gravitated to their light-hearted tales of the every-man and their comedic tendencies, conveyed both through rhyme and via their odd-ball skits, the latter of which the group is credited as introducing to the world of hip-hop.
3 Feet High and Rising was also one of the first rap albums to be warmly embraced by mainstream critics, with lauded journalist Robert Christgau writing, “An inevitable development in the class history of rap, [De La Soul is] new wave to Public Enemy’s punk,” in his Village Voice review of 3 Feet High and Rising. “Their music is maddeningly disjunct, and a few of the 24-cuts-in-67-minutes (too long for vinyl) are self-indulgent, arch. But their music is also radically unlike any rap you or anybody else has ever heard. The album was also compared to historic works by likes of Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon) and The Beatles (Sgt. Peppers) upon release and is noted as one of the greatest albums in the history of music and has even been added to the Library of Congress’ 2010 National Recording Registry in light of its cultural influence and importance.