And some new old De La. And another pointed De La related rant. And hopelly I will not-live live-blog Japan kicking some Dutch ass in the WWC. And maybe a few other things too...
Large Pro- re:living
Large Professor’s legacy is airtight off his 90’s production work and debut LP that got caught up in label drama and never received a proper, timely release.
GOAL JAPAN LIKE WHAT. 1-0
Anyhoo, his solo work this century hasn’t always turned out to be appointment listening. 2006’s Main Source has some real heaters on it, and both volumes of his instrumental LP series are worth owning. But last year’s 2xLP was real disappointing in the one listen I gave it. So when this one popped up on the radar as essentially a maxi-EP (nine songs, many of which are brief, and two instrumentals that I ended up not feeling) being passed off as an LP, it got side-eyed until I caught the Industry remix towards the end of the tracklist. OK.
And it turned out to be pretty good. Large Pro is another guy who’s natural steez is conducive to aging like wine instead of milk, with his deep voice and slow flow. This time around Large Pro is almost entirely in storyteller mode. Most of the songs are clearly personal. It starts off great, gets a little iffy in the middle (including the two songs he put on the overpriced 12”), but then ends on a strong note. As far as things that I review/recommend go, this isn’t one of the strongest. But in broader terms, by all means, this is solid, at least, and worth picking up
I actually had this a week before street date, and still couldn’t bother to take the rare chance of acting like a big shot and reviewing it early. Damn I got lazy here for a second.
Slum Village- Yes!
After the Fantastics, I really didn’t check for Slum Village as Dilla became less and less involved. A little of what I heard from those records I dug. More, not so much. But there are a bunch of Dilla beats on here so I went for it, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t really good. And what’s most awesome about it is that it really sounds like a Slum Village record... like nobody died or fell off and they just dropped an excellent Fantastic 3 right in stride.
I caught up to the first wax pressing of Fantastic Vol. 1 a few months back- a rare day I had to wade through a bunch of dudes carrying stacks at the bins. None of these geniuses could drop $20 on this? I’ve had the legit repress for years but the levels are too janky to play out with any confidence, so boom. The sound quality of this one wasn’t much better, but goddamn, for something that was made in ‘96 especially, that shit is just ridiculous. And that it’s a protest record of sorts, as they famously tried to do the opposite of what they were hearing on the radio at the time... goddamn.
This new one isn’t quite that mind-blowing, but again, its another legit addition to the SV legacy. About the right amount of guest shots, both the esteemed vets and the young bucks kill it. Some joints about the ladies, some joints where they’re probably doing a little too much, some joints you can listen to all day... SV. Lots of positive bass and negative space. Like The Nonce made a club record.
De La Soul / Jay Dee -Smell The Da.I.S.Y
Originally released digitally about two years ago, with the instrumentals infamously seeing a press run of 100 put directly on eBay and getting sent to a handful of shops for Record Store Day 2014, a vinyl vocal version has finally turned up. Supposedly it’s a pressing of 1000 and can be either black, clear, or white... or, in my case, a pretty awesome white/black splatter.
I was not previously aware that De La was spitting old lyrics on this. All new recordings, perhaps necessitated by all the beats being mid-tempo and some of the rhymes coming from De La’s more dance-friendly favorites. But yeah, not really all new songs. A little disappointing. But as an owner of the instrumentals it’s definitely nice to have a version of this to take out that isn’t worth hundreds of dollars (it’s the only record I own that doesn’t leave the house).
So, obviously, these are Dilla beats. And not bad ones. But the second time through this I had to throw in the towel and just put on the Prince Paul versions, a move the wife wholeheartedly endorsed.
Which brings me to my rant!
WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THE HUGE DISCREPANCY IN POPULARITY/APPRECIATION FOR DE LA SOUL AND PRINCE PAUL?
This has been brewing within me for months, but I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to hang it on De La, and I know that’s wrong. It is not their fault that when I see their posts on FB there are thousands of likes, and when I see Prince Paul’s there are forty-something.
De La Soul might be my favorite group ever. They might be the best group ever. And they are also quite possibly the most overrated rap group ever. Again, no fault of their own. But there are clearly a large number of people out there who think De La Soul is Mt. Rapmore, and Prince Paul is “Oh yeah, Prince Paul. He coo.”
Prince Paul is the genius of the bunch. De La Soul has four classic albums. Prince Paul was the most important guy in the group for three of them. And that fourth, Stakes Is High, as great as it is, looking back on it how was De La not going to get solid production in ‘95?
After that, they fell off. And Prince Paul still made incredible records without them. The only thing I’ve heard that wasn’t ohmyfuckinggod was Politics Of The Business. MAYBE. And that record was kinda supposed to be bad. That was the point. It’s meh and genius at the same time. Now I gotta stop thinking about it before I go down a Prince Paul rabbit hole. A Prince Among Thieves? Amazing. Psychoanalysis and the unofficial sequel Itstrumental are amazing. My blog is named after one of those songs for fuck’s sake.
2-0 Japan. They are just too good.
OK that’s it, party time. Prince Paul is quite possibly the greatest individual in the history of rap. You wanna ride anybody’s nuts, ride his. They deserve it. Ooh, and I got that Petestrumentals 2 today, and it’s surprisingly good about a third in...