De La Soul

Voodoo Fest

October 17, 2004

De La Soul rolled into Voodoo Fest Sunday afternoon with a police escort. When they hit the stage, the rap group was forty minutes late, but all was soon forgiven by the crowd.

New York City trio De La Soul formed in 1988 and released their debut album, "Three Feet High and Rising," in 1989. Unfortunately, they'll always be haunted by its mainstream success(remember "Me, Myself and I"?) and the "seminal" tag later stuck on the album. While the first album was a lighthearted and playful affair that drew from many genres, their second effort, "De La Soul is Dead," was more pensive and dark. Though the album was good, critics and followers didn't like the group's dismissal of their psychdelic/daisy image. The end of De La Soul's relevance came soon anyway in the form of gangsta rap. Though they're recognized as alternative rap pioneers, they're still under the commercial radar. It looks like things'll stay that way.

They released a new album, "The Grind Date," this month, and the songs De La Soul played from that album didn't impress me like their older material. Intelligent and tight rhyming flowed over eclectic samples, but the songs weren't catchy enough for another dent in the industry.

Luckily, the band wasn't at Voodoo to get popularity votes. They were there to inspire a party. The crowd danced to a majority of hits and a few obscurities. Of course, "Me, Myself and I" and "Potholes in My Lawn" were on the list, as well as "A Roller-Skating Jam named 'Saturdays.'" The crowd sang along to the brainless chant of "It's Saturday" over and over again. It was fun.

The band continued with my favorite song of the set--"Stakes is High." It was about having fun in the face of danger. The only problem I had with De La Soul's set was that some of their songs weren't as good as others. Simple as that.

From behind the tables, Maseo touted the importance of hip-hop music and its legacy. He also took the mic a few times to add an angrier approach to the songs. At one point, he was screaming at the top of his lungs.

On the other hand, MC Posdnuos was smiled the entire concert. He swung a bra from the crowd in the air and was the band's energy source.

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