Now we're at the end of the show Contestants, do you have any answers?
De La Soul - 'D.A.I.S.Y. Age' (3ft High and Rising - 1989)
I've mentioned before on The Run Out Grooves that one trait we have always been fans of is where the closing track on the album points the way forward in a band's discography when you look back years later and can see that the last song on the album is the catalyst for the next stage in a band's career.
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De La Soul's 'D.A.I.S.Y Age', the last song on their 1989 debut 3ft High and Rising, doesn't reach into the group's future as such, but they do reference it. It seems their intention is not to praise but to bury their past.
On their second album, De La Soul is Dead, the cover features a dead daisy (neither of which could be described as subtle), a clear indication that the multitude of references to the D.A.I.S.Y1. age throughout the previous one should be left there. The D.A.I.S.Y. age is over.
There is a callback, however - at the end of De La Soul is Dead's Intro, we drop back to the quiz show motif that we hear over and over in 3ft High and Rising with Don Newkirk thanking us as he does at the very end of that album. We again might ponder the intertwined fibres on a Shredded Wheat, the number of feathers on a Perdue chicken, how often the Batmobile caught a flat and what Tuhs Eht Lleh Pu means. (Hint; read the words backwards!)
This final track is not just a sketch that acts as the denouement to the quiz on the record; there is also a song that contains samples of The Average White Band, The Rascals, T-Ski Valley and Just-Ice. I've always thought the additive nature of these samples gives a drum sound that is reminiscent of Madonna's 'Justify My Love', a Public Enemy sample itself.
Compared with The Beastie Boys that same year, this is more like an attempt to write another song to close the album than to have a grand suite ending the record in a blaze of glory. It lands nicely as a more mellow finish to an album that can be pretty frantic in places, it retains the wordplay and freshness you hear on the preceding hour even if it lacks the bold innovation of other parts of the album.
It must be one of the most self-assured albums of the decade, and even by the time their second album and they declared themselves dead, it was clear that gangsta rap from the coasts of the US was overshadowing so-called conscious hip-hop. We will always have a four-by-ten sheet of paper, two proof of purchases from the back of the album and answers to send to "Dante the Scrub"
No Spotify link -
3ft High and Rising
is not on the service.
Daisy is an acronym for "Da Inner Sound Y'all" It is a recurring theme throughout the album, almost a manifesto, and is one of several reasons people viewed De La Soul as hippies.