De La Soul Is Dead

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De La Soul Is Dead
De La Soul is Dead album cover.jpg
Studio album by De La Soul
Released May 14, 1991
Recorded 1990-1991 at Calliope Productions, New York
Genre Golden age hip hop, alternative hip hop
Length 73:30
Label Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records
Producer Prince Paul, De La Soul
De La Soul chronology
3 Feet High and Rising
De La Soul Is Dead
Buhloone Mindstate
Singles from De La Soul Is Dead
  1. "A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays""
    Released: March 5, 1991
  2. "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)"
    Released: May 27, 1991
  3. "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa"/"Keepin' the Faith"
    Released: 1991
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune 3/4 stars[2]
Christgau's Consumer Guide (3-star Honorable Mention)[3]
Entertainment Weekly C+[4]
Los Angeles Times 3/5 stars[5]
Q 4/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[8]
The Source 5/5[9]

De La Soul Is Dead is De La Soul's second full-length album, which was released in 1991 (see 1991 in music). The album was produced by Prince Paul, whose work on 3 Feet High and Rising was highly praised by music critics. The album was one of the first to receive a five-mike rating in the Hip hop magazine The Source.[9] The album was also selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums in 1998.[10] The album's cover refers to the death of the "D.A.I.S.Y." (Da Inner Sound, Y'all) age, or a distancing from several cultures including hippies and the mainstream hip-hop.[1] It is considered among many as one of the best albums of the 1990s. Rolling Stone ranked the album at #87 on their list, and Pitchfork Media ranked it at #63.


De La Soul's first album, 3 Feet High and Rising, is widely regarded in the hip-hop community as a classic, leaving this, the follow-up, something of a poisoned chalice. The album's title is in reaction to the group being labeled hippies following its debut release. The album cover, a broken pot of daisies, signals the end of the DA.I.S.Y. Age. In an attempt to shake this label off, De La Soul's second album is significantly edgier than its first release. Despite the fact that it clearly did not want to be labeled as hippies, the group also did not want to be labeled hardcore. The album's 13th track, "Afro Connections at a Hi-5 (In the Eyes of the Hoodlum)," is an ironic attack directed at the emerging gangsta movement of the early 1990s.

The album features a series of separate, ongoing skits. The intro to the album features Jeff, a teenaged character who was not played by Chi Ali as often thought, who was introduced in the B-sides to "Eye Know" and "Me Myself and I": "Brain Washed Follower," "The Mack Daddy on the Left," and the rare "Double Huey Skit" (all are featured on the Limited Edition Bonus CD of the 2001 3 Feet High and Rising remaster). In a parody of old children's book-and-record read-along sets, Jeff finds a cassette tape copy of a De La Soul album in the garbage. Bullies appear, beat up Jeff, and steal the tape. Ensuing skits feature these bullies harshly criticizing the songs on the album. Mista Lawnge of Black Sheep provides the voice of the lead antagonist, while P.A. Pasemaster Mase voices the other bully who gets ridiculed and abused by Lawnge for his admiration of the album. Throughout the skits, the sound of the signal that lets the reader know that it's time to turn the page is heard. In the end, they throw the tape back in the trash, exclaiming, "De La Soul is dead." The album also introduces a fictional radio station called WRMS that plays nothing but De La Soul music.

The lyrics are again heavily praised for their intelligence and seamless infusion with almost endless references to pop culture. The album's strength further stems from the production of Prince Paul.

The song "Pass the Plugs" features the lyrics "Arsenio dissed us but the crowd kept clapping." This refers to the group performing on The Arsenio Hall Show, where Arsenio Hall introduced them as "the hippies of hip-hop." The group then performed "Me Myself and I," which explicitly states that they are not hippies. The credits for the show also began to run over the performance before the group was finished, contributing to the perceived lack of respect.

In 2008 the album was re released on vinyl. This version did not contain the CD bonus tracks.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by P. Huston, K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason; additional writers credited below.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   C. Johns, L. Farrow 2:14
2. "Oodles of O's"   T. Waits 3:31
3. "Talkin' Bout Hey Love"   S. Gainsbourg, S. Wonder, C. Paul, M. Broadmax 2:27
4. "Pease Porridge"   A. Goodhart, A. Hoffman, H. Magidson, B. Birthright 5:02
5. "Skit 1"     0:25
6. "Johnny's Dead AKA Vincent Mason (live from the BK Lounge)"     1:57
7. "A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays"" (featuring Q-Tip and Vinia Mojica) R. Matthews, J. Davis 4:03
8. "WRMS' Dedication to the Bitty"   J. Sample 0:46
9. "Bitties in the BK Lounge"   K. Nix, R. Isley, R. Isley, O.K. Isley 5:40
10. "Skit 2"     0:31
11. "My Brother's a Basehead" (featuring Squirrell and Preacher) (CD bonus track) C. Ballard Jr., R. Krieger 4:20
12. "Let, Let Me In"   B. McCracken, L. Fulson, B. Birthright 3:25
13. "Afro Connections at a Hi 5 (In the Eyes of the Hoodlum)" (CD bonus track)   4:02
14. "Rap de Rap Show"     2:19
15. "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa"   G. Clinton, G. Cook 4:10
16. "Who Do U Worship?" (CD bonus track)   1:59
17. "Skit 3"     0:31
18. "Kicked Out the House" (CD bonus track)   1:56
19. "Pass the Plugs"   E. Wright, W. Smith, J. Perry 3:30
20. "Not Over till the Fat Lady Plays the Demo" (CD bonus track) S. Gainsbourg, J.C. Vannier 1:29
21. "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)"   G. Skinner 5:06
22. "WRMS: Cat's in Control"   J. Sample 0:34
23. "Skit 4"     0:12
24. "Shwingalokate"   K. McCord, G. Clinton, B. Nelson 4:14
25. "Fanatic of the B Word"   M. Jones, D. Kinsey, A. Titus 4:09
26. "Keepin' the Faith"   B. Marley, R. Temperton, M. Adams, S. Arrington, M. Hicks, T. Lockett, R. Turner, D. Webster, S. Young 4:45
27. "Skit 5"     0:32


The following is a list of songs and sound footage sampled in the songs on De La Soul Is Dead.


"Oodles of Os"

"Talkin' Bout Hey, Love"

"Pease Porridge Hot"

"A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays""

"WRMS's Dedication to the Bitty"

"Bitties in the BK Lounge"

"My Brother's a Basehead"

"Let, Let Me In"

"Afro Connections at a Hi 5 (In the Eyes of a Hoodlum)"

"Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa"

  • "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss
  • "I'll Stay" and "Mommy, What's a Funkadelic?" by Funkadelic
  • "On the Run" by Jungle Brothers

"Kicked Out the House"

  • "La Di Da Di" by Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh

"Pass the Plugs"

"Not Over Till the Fat Lady Plays the Demo"

"Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)"

"WRMS: Cat's in Control"


  • "Mr. Groove" by One Way
  • "Flash Light" by Parliament
  • "Bust That Groove" by Stetsasonic
  • "Placebo Syndrome" by Parliament

"Fanatic of the B-Word"

"Keepin' the Faith"


  1. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "De La Soul Is Dead – De La Soul". AllMusic. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ Kot, Greg (May 16, 1991). "De La Soul De La Soul Is Dead (Tommy Boy)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "De La Soul: De La Soul Is Dead". Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ Browne, David (May 24, 1991). "De La Soul Is Dead". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  5. ^ Gold, Jonathan (May 12, 1991). "Another Great Rap Hope Falters". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  6. ^ "De La Soul: De La Soul Is Dead". Q (209): 149. December 2003. 
  7. ^ Poulson-Bryant, Scott (May 30, 1991). "De La Soul Is Dead". Rolling Stone (605). Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. 
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 224–25. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  9. ^ a b Atco (May 1991). "De La Soul: De La Soul Is Dead". The Source (24). Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ "The 100 Best Rap Albums". The Source #100. January 1998. Retrieved 1 March 2010.