Sunday, October 5, 2008
Top Five Part Two: De La Soul B-sides
B-sides, for the most part, are a rockist thing. Very few other genres have taken to putting a little something extra on the B-side of a single. In most cases, you're lucky if you even get more than one extra track per album.
For this list, I mainly concentrated on actual B-sides, but De La also put tons of remixes on their 12" singles. Actual remixes, too. You know, new beat, new verses, but the same hook so you knew it was a remix. Most of those are excellent time period pieces and make each single its own unique entity that deserves a spin independent of the album every so often.
One of very few hip hop acts to have honest-to-goodness B-sides, De La Soul gave their fans several reasons for buying singles in their early days. Here's the best:
#5 — "It Ain't Hip To Be Labeled A Hippie" (My Myself and I 12", 1989)
Although their earliest B-sides were more along the lines of the glorified skits found throughout 3 Feet High and Rising, they were all just as fun and good. This little ditty borrows the drums from "Me Myself and I" and throws a fantastic Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band loop on top of it so Pos can tell you why De La are not hippies and shold not even associated with hippie ideals. It's a good table setter for the anti-hippie witchhunt that De La Soul is Dead turned out to be.
#4 — "Itzsoweezee (Hot) (De La Soul Mix)" (Itzsoweezee (Hot) 12", 1996)
Actually just a mix of the song where Pos spits a verse. But it makes all the difference in the world. No dis to Dave, but the proper album version that is basically his solo feature on the album gets a bit tedious in comparison.
#3 — "Stakes is High (Remix)" featuring Truth Enola and Mos Def (Itzsooweezee (Hot) 12", 1996)
Jay Dee beat with ridiculous James Brown sample? Check. New verses from the original MCs? Check. Smoking hot verses from then-unknown Native Tounge affiliates? Check. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
#2 — "What Yo Life Can Truly Be" (A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays' 12", 1991)
A proper remix of the single's title track. Just a damn fine remix that packs the cameos to the brim. It keeps the vibe of the original song, but sounds absolutely nothing like it. Wonderfulness.
#1 — "Lovely How I Let My Mind Float" featuring Biz Markie (Ego Trippin' 12", 1993)
'Ya know P-O-S-D-N-U-O-S: usually the reason for a cardiac arrest.' WHAT?!? Crazy. Kind of like "Breakadawn part 2" as it borrows the drum track and chops up the bassline from that track. Pos and Dave alternate park-rockin' verses with Biz and the deal is sealed with a classic line borrowed from "Planet Rock" for the hook. Even at the time, this felt like the iteration of a sound that had long since passed away.