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De La Soul
TIMELESS: THE SINGLES COLLECTION
(TOMMY BOY)
Stars graphics

This chronological collection of 16 tracks spanning their 12-year career displays just how tactfully the Amityville trio walked the line that separates the mainstream from the underground as they garnered respect from b-boys and backpackers alike. Originally mentored by the warped mind of producer extraordinaire Prince Paul, De La Soul in their 1989 debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, and the sophomore effort De La Soul Is Dead redefined "concept album" or at least defined the term as it could be used in hip-hop. Buried deep within the catchy hooks, avant-garde production, bouncy beats, and silly skits were positive, conscious hip-hop tracks that never sounded too preachy or pretentious. The stoned yet concise "Potholes in My Lawn" and "Plug Tunin," the catchy and kinetic "Buddy" (Timeless offers the eight-minute "Native Tongues remix"), and the radio-friendly classics "A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays" and "Ring Ring Ring" are all included. Originally branded as hippie, peace-loving rappers, De La Soul responded in the mid 90s with Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High, discs that threw down the no-nonsense braggadocio tracks "Breakadawn," "Ego Trippin," and "The Bizness" and generally toughened their image. Those tracks are here along with the more recent hits "All Good?" with Chaka Khan and "Oooh" with Redman.

BY CHRIS CONTI


Issue Date: August 1 - August 7, 2003
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