89. De La Soul - Me Myself and I

Originally, as a music-loving white guy who liked rock & pop music, I was kind of offended by the rap and hip-hop artists who used samples as the basis for their songs. I thought it was stealing at worst (even if the original artists were compensated) or just lazy at best. For many artists from the first wave of rap and hip-hop, that sentiment held true. But then, in an interesting and really cool turn of events, the second wave of artists took things to the next level. They took the established sampling and spun it on its head.

Instead of taking a single sample and just using the untouched instrumental track, rap artists (and most notably, hip-hop artists) used multiple samples in a single song, often taking the sample and tweaking it in any number of ways. So you go from the derivative 3rd Bass and "Pop Goes the Weasel" to De La Soul and "Me Myself and I." But here's the thing: "Pop Goes the Weasel" came out in 1991, while "Me Myself and I," which appeared on De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising, came out in 1989. Like the Beastie Boys and Paul's Boutique, De La Soul were ahead of their time, making sampling more of an art form than petty theft. And Three Feet High and Rising was De La Soul's debut album.

Normally, the singles from an album are in the first few tracks, since record companies want you to listen to what they think are the "best" songs over and over. "Me Myself and I" isn't track 1. Not 2, 3 or 4. It's track 20! In an album filled with all sorts of cool sampling and skits (another before their time thing, but I don't have time to go into that!), "Me Myself and I" really sticks out. It's a definite dance song that in many ways is similar to other rap records where the artist pumps himself up with his lyrics, but the lyrics here are much more tongue and cheek rather than aggressive and derogatory towards other rappers. Posdnuos (Plug One) and Trugoy (Plug Two) just want to have fun with it.

The lyrics are more interesting than your run of the mill hip-hop song, but still pretty straightforward.

Proud, I'm proud of what I am
Poems I speak are Plug Two Type
Please oh please let Plug Two be
himself, not what you read or write.

These guys just want to be creative and do their music, and have people enjoy it. They're not too interested in blasting other rappers or being true to a particular Coast. What they're interested in is making great songs that they love and hope that we do to. With this song especially, they were very successful. The rest of the album is really cool, too. Check it out.

(Fun Fact #45: Plug One and Plug Two are how Posdnuos and Trugoy refer to themselves on this record. The names come from the mixer input that each of their microphones were plugged into.)

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