On this day in hip, September 21, in hip-hop history…
1993: The climate is a little different these days but 20 years ago, the worst thing you could do as a hip-hop artist was go “pop.” Respect was earned by rappers who could achieve success without having to resort to the type of radio-friendly moves that might have earned you fans in the mainstream but the disdain of hip-hop. The trick was to find balance. Rap fans didn’t hate you for getting money but the trick was finding success on your own terms – hip-hop’s terms. Buhloone Mindstate, De La Soul’s third album, deals directly with that idea. “It might blow up but won’t go pop.”
Many fans consider Buhloone Mindstate, the group’s last with producer Prince Paul, to be not only one of De La Soul’s finest albums in their illustrious career but one of the greatest rap albums ever. Sonically, it was one of the most inventive albums ever experimenting with live jazz instrumentation and bringing in Japanese rappers Scha Dara Parr and Takagi Kan to rap on the album. Meanwhile, Jazz great Maceo Parker shows up on “I Be Blowin’” to perform an unexpected and moving sax solo. Lyrically, rappers Dave and Posdunous are as sharp and funny as ever bringing quick-witted turns of phrase and inside-jokes making the album impossibly fun to listen to.
Although, the album was less commercially success than their first two albums, Buhloone Mindstate‘s reputation has grown in the 20 years since its release. Many of the songs including “Breakadawn,” “Ego Trippin’ (Part Two)”, “En Focus,” and “Patti Dookie” are considered some of hip-hop’s finest. The album’s unorthdox aesthetic can be described in one line by Plug One, himself. “Fuck being hard, Posdnuos is complicated.”