De La Soul Is Dead

De La Soul Is Dead
Studio album by De La Soul
Released May 13, 1991
Recorded 1990-1991 at Calliope Productions, New York
Genre Alternative hip hop
Length 73:30
Label Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records
Producer De La Soul
Prince Paul
De La Soul chronology
3 Feet High and Rising
De La Soul Is Dead
Buhloone Mindstate
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1] 9.5/10 stars [2]
Robert Christgau (2 star Honorable Mention)(2 star Honorable Mention)(3 star Honorable Mention) [3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [4]
The Source 5/5 stars [5]

De La Soul Is Dead is De La Soul's second full-length album, 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 mic rating in the Hip hop magazine The Source.[5] The album was also selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums in 1998.[6] The album's cover refers to the death of the "D.A.I.S.Y." age, or a distancing from several cultures including hippies and the mainstream hip-hop.[1]



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 D.A.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 played by Chi Ali, 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

  1. "Intro"- 2:14
  2. "Oodles of O's"- 3:31
  3. "Talkin' bout hey Love"- 2:27
  4. "Pease Porridge"- 5:02
  5. "Skit 1"- :25
  6. "Johnny's Dead AKA Vincent Mason (live in BK Lounge)"- 1:57
  7. "A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays""- 4:03
    • featuring Q-Tip And Vinia Mojica
  8. "WRMS' Dedication to the Bitty" - :46
  9. "Bitties in the BK Lounge"- 5:40
  10. "Skit 2"- :31
  11. "My Brother's a Basehead"- 4:20
  12. "Let, Let Me In"- 3:25
  13. "Afro Connections at a Hi-5 (In the Eyes of the Hoodlum)"- 4:02
  14. "Rap de Rap Show"- 2:19
  15. "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa"- 4:10
  16. "Who do u Worship?"- 1:59
  17. "Skit 3"- :31
  18. "Kicked Out the House"- 1:56
    • CD bonus track
  19. "Pass the Plugs"- 3:30
  20. "Not Over till the Fat Lady Plays the Demo"- 1:29
  21. "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)"- 5:06
  22. "WRMS: Cat's in Control"- :34
  23. "Skit 4"- :12
  24. "Shwingalokate"- 4:14
  25. "Fanatic of the B-Word"- 4:09
  26. "Keepin' the Faith"- 4:45
  27. "Skit 5"- :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"

  • The Three Little Pigs book and record set, released by Houghton-Mifflin.
  • "Twine Time" by Alvin Cash and the Crawlers
  • "Tramp" by Lowell Fulsom
  • "At My Front Door" by The El Dorados
  • "I'll Be Doggone" by Instant Funk
  • Kojak book and record set, released by Peter Pan Records.

"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)"

  • "Name and Number" by Curiosity Killed the Cat
  • "Pass the Peas" by The J.B.'s
  • "Help is on the Way" by The Whatnauts
  • "Impeach the President" by the Honey Drippers
  • "Act Like You Know" by Fat Larry's Band


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

"Fanatic of the B-Word"

  • "Freedom" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
  • "Get Out of My Life, Woman" by Lee Dorsey

"Keepin' the Faith"

  • "Just a Touch of Love" by Slave (bassline)
  • "Sign of the Times" by Bob James (keyboard intro)
  • "Could You Be Loved" by Bob Marley and the Wailers (guitar riff)
  • "The Champ" by The Mohawks (vocals: "Champ!")
  • "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith (drums)
  • "Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed" by Thin Lizzy (vocals: "Johnny the fox!")
  • "Beats To The Rhyme" by Run D.M.C.


Single information
"A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays""
  • Released: 1991
  • B-side: "What You Life Can Truly Be", "Who's Skatin' Promo"
"A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays"" 12"
  • Released: 1991
  • A-side: "What You Life Can Truly Be", "Who's Skatin' Promo", "Ladies Nite Decision", LP Version
  • B-side: Radio Home Mix, Dave's Home Mix, 6:00 AM Mix, Mo Mo Dub
"Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)"
  • Released: 1991
  • B-side: "Afro Connections at a Hi 5 (In the Eyes of the Hoodlum)"
"Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa/Keepin' the Faith"
  • Released: 1991
  • B-side: -


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