It’s easy to get lost in the fierce competition and gnarled determination of hip-hop. The genre is so intrinsically linked with the American Dream and the notion of stepping on who you need to be to become the best of the best that some of the scene’s softer moments can get lost in the furore. One such group who delivered those moments with wry commentary, clever lyricism and , ultimately, a warmth that few groups possessed was De La Soul.
With the tragic news of Troguy the Dove, AKA David Jolicoeur, we thought we’d look back at their iconic single ‘Me, Myself and I’, a song from the heyday of hip-hop, not concerned with outward domination but inward contemplation. The news arrives hot off the group’s heels, confirming that their back catalogue will soon be available on all streaming services, which means a brand new generation can be subjected to their soulful sounds.
Celebrating the 34th anniversary of 3 Feet High and Rising. De La Soul were set to expand their online presence to include the debut LP as well as 1991’s De La Soul is Dead, 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate, 1996’s Stakes Is High, 2000’s Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump and 2001’s Art Official Intelligence: Bionix, all of which had been held off the services due to legal issues. One single, however, that has transcended the need for streaming is ‘Me, Myself and I’.
Sampling the Ohio Players synth for ‘The Funky Worm’, De La Soul released the track in 1989 as part of their debut record. The track also sampled ‘The Original Human Beatbox’ by Doug E. Fresh, ‘Knee Deep’ by Funkadelic and ‘Gonna Make you Mie’ by Loose Ends, to provide a sound that bounced rather than thumped.
Offering themselves as an antidote to the gangsta rap phenomenon being propelled across the nation by N.W.A., De La Soul positioned themselves as conscious rappers, spitting bars about self-sufficient living. “I don’t need anything to get me through the night/ Except the beat that’s in my heart,” remains a line as true today as it was 34 years ago.
Speaking to Rolling Stone about the track, De La Soul member Posdnous recalled, “That was the second to last song recorded for that album. Tommy Boy was loving how the album was going, but they felt like we needed an introduction song. That was the first time on this album where it was brought to our attention that we may need to make sure we have something that isn’t so over someone’s head. Mase and Paul had already mentioned trying something with one of the Funkadelic records. We did that record like it was nothing. We were surprised how big it got. Sometimes the simplest thing is what people can relate to.”
The song became the group’s first hit and set their stall out to become a hugely influential trio in hip-hop.