De La Soul was a legendary trio akin to the likes of Run-DMC and Beastie Boys. The group were a critical force in the promotion of alternative hip-hop during the 1980s. Comprised of three individuals, the rapper that helped spearhead the alt-hip-hop movement was the late artist David Jolicoeur, who performed under the moniker, Trugoy The Dove. As part of the New York collective, Jolicoeur used his ingenuity to produce music that broke the boundaries of hip-hop and encouraged sonic fusion.
Primarily known for their 1989 debut album, 3 Feet High And Rising, it is impossible to deny De La Soul’s impact on rap music. However, some may argue that they were undervalued and even unappreciated during their tenure. Moreover, many may even state the obvious, which is that they were truly ahead of their time. Formed in Long Island, New York, the trio brought a multitude of strange and compelling musical creations to the airwaves. De La Soul used eclectic samples within their productions, utilised quirky lyrics and cadences and brought a colourful, less threatening aesthetic to the culture.
However, Trugoy The Dove did not only do this as a member of De La Soul; he was also part of the much larger collective Native Tongues. Comprised of Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, Queen Latifah, Black Sheep and Chi-Ali, the ensemble embraced not just the African-American experience but explored the world in a far more Pan-Africanist manner. This Afro-Centric spirit had not been seen prior and would pave the way for outfits such as Soulquarians that would emerge in the 1990s.
Trugoy The Dove made so many unnoticed contributions to hip-hop over the years it often comes as a surprise to many when one highlights the things he did. The rapper and producer gave his input into all of De La Soul’s material and helped other artists and alt-hip-hop acts create fantastic music. One song that the Long Island artist wrote is ‘Feel Good Inc’, the legendary song by Gorillaz. Earlier this year, before his sad passing, Jolicoeur at the Grammy Awards for its 50 Years of celebratory hip-hop performance.
With such outstanding accomplishments to his name, we will present you with the late artist’s five best tracks of all time in this article. You can take a look at our picks below.
The five best Trugoy The Dove tracks of all time:
5. ‘Say No Go’
One of De La Soul’s most obviously Jazz-inspired tracks. ‘Say No Go’ was released as the sixth single for 3 Feet High And Rising and reached number 18 in the UK charts. Noted as one of the first Jazz-Hop songs to ever be released, the track heavily leans on 1981 single ‘I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)’ by Hall & Oates. However, it particularly extrapolates the work of saxophonist Charles DeChant.
The song, akin to ‘White Lines’ by Grandmaster Flash, was released to deter young inner-city youths from drug use. Member, Posdnuos declares during the track, “Now let’s get right on down to the skit/ A baby is brought into a world of pits/ And if it could’ve talked that soon/ In the delivery room/ It would’ve asked the nurse for a hit”. Despite being a meaningful and lyrical album cut, ‘Say No Go’ became popular among dancers and b-boys and was even featured in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where Will Smith danced to the single.
4. ‘Oooh.’ ft Redman,
‘Oooh.’ is from De La Soul’s fifth album, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump. Released in 2000, the song was released as the lead single for the album. However, by the turn of the millennium, the trio’s relevance was undoubtedly beginning to wane. As a result, the single charted below 100 and peaked at number 125 on the US charts, but in Europe, the group’s fanbase and relevance were as strong as ever, and it debuted at number 25 on the UK Singles Chart.
The track, featuring the legendary Redman, was produced by Prince Paul in conjunction with KOVAS and Pasemaster Mase. The track is a distinctively East Coast track and contains all the grit one would expect from a late 1990s record. However, during the period it was released, eyes were fixed on artists such as Eminem, who had just burst into the mainstream, Dr Dre making his comeback in 2001 and Jay-Z, who was shaking up the New York hip-hop scene with his mafioso rap style.
3. ‘Buddy’ ft Q-Tip and Jungle Brothers
Featuring their fellow Native Tongue members Q-Tip and Jungle Brothers, ‘Buddy’ is a track that went pretty much unnoticed in the US. However, it got far more love internationally. Often more off-kilter artists and groups fare much better in Europe than they do in America. This has been the case with several artists, including Jimi Hendrix, N.E.R.D and Azealia Banks, who gained traction in Europe before their home nation, and the same was true of De La Soul.
‘Buddy’ was released in 1988 and had several versions. Released alongside the original was a remix which included almost every member of Native Tongues. However, the original featured only De La Soul, Q-Tip and Jungle Brothers. Produced by Prince Paul, the track samples the bassline of the 1981 song, ‘Heartbeat’ by Taana Gardner. The song did not make the Hot 100 in the US but charted in the UK at number seven. The “Native Tongue Decision Mix” is one of the trio’s most potent posse cuts and features Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, and Monie Love.
2. ‘Me Myself And I’,
This track is another iconic cut from 3 Feet High And Rising. Released as the debut single. The track has a rather strange yet intriguing chart history. A Dutch journalist who met De La Soul when they were still unknown was so fascinated by the group and their outlandish style that it prompted them to make a documentary. Aired on the Dutch television channel VPRO, the broadcast included ‘Me, Myself And I’, and it sparked so much interest around the collective in The Netherlands that upon its release, the track went to number one on the Netherlands Singles Charts.
This then started a pattern around Europe, with the track debuting in the top 40 in other countries such as Belgium, the UK, Germany and Austria. It even scraped into the US top 40 as a result of debuting at 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and getting certified Gold by the RIAA. Produced by Prince Paul, the track most notably samples ‘Funky Worm’ by the Ohio Players. However, Paul did not use the iconic synthesizer solo segment used by the likes of Dr Dre, but the bass. The track ‘Me, Myself And I’ also samples Funkadelic’s ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep.’
1. ‘Potholes In My Lawn’,
The most well-known De La Soul track, ‘Pot Holes In My Lawn’, was the second single for the trio’s debut album, 3 Feet High And Rising. The song samples “Magic Mountain” by Eric Burdon & War. Produced by Prince Paul, the trio’s primary producer, the track is known for its extremely odd yet catchy melody. Released in 1988, the song features vocals from all three members of the collective. The group also oversaw the track’s production.
The track is significant to the three-piece outfit as it was their first song to chart, reaching number 22 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart. In a 2009 interview with music magazine Rolling Stone, Jolicoeur told the publication, “The song is about other rappers thieving De La Soul’s rhymes.” The rapper added, “‘Potholes in my Lawn’ was like another way to say beat-biter or sucker MC, like songs from Run-DMC, songs from MC Lyte. The lawn was our rhymes and the potholes were the pieces missing.”
The legendary song has been sampled many times and has been cited by a plethora of rappers, including Missy Elliot in her 2003 single, ‘Pass That Dutch,’ in which she raps, “If you’s a fat one put your clothes back on before you start putting pot holes in my lawn.” The group themselves even sampled the song in 2014 for their track, ‘Goes With The Word,’ from their 2014 mixtape, Smell The Da.I.S.Y. You can listen to the legendary track in the video below.