De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective
Buhloone Mindstate featured multiple appearances and vocal contributions from Dres of Black Sheep and Shortie No Mas who also appeared on The Roots' debut Organix from earlier that same year. This would be the first time most Rap fans ever heard her as The Roots debut was initially sold only at their shows. "eN FoCUS" gave way to the Jazzy anti-crossover song "Patti Dooke" featuring Guru from Gang Starr on the hook and perfectly placed audio from the film The Five Heartbeats. Every voice, adlib, transition, scratch and verse on "Patti Dooke" blended together perfectly to create one of the most overlooked compositions in Rap strictly because it was so effortless and De La Soul and Prince Paul had done it so many times before it was like old hat to Hip-Hop heads by then.
Next, legendary Soul/Jazz/Funk saxophonist Maceo Parker appears on the hauntingly beautiful instrumental composition "I Be Blowin'" which appears a third through the album and would become the base of "I Am I Be," the song that opens up the last third of the album. The last third of Buhloone Mindstate was important for several reasons I'll touch on later. Japanese MC's SDP and Takagi Kan appear on the skit "Long Island Wildin'" which leads right into what would become the album's second single "Ego Trippin' [Part Two]." The song was just thought of as a dope album track featuring Al Hirt's "Harlem Hendo" until it was released as a single. It wasn't even considered a hardcore Rap parody until the video hit BET and MTV in early 1994 which put it into a completely different context. Amazing how visuals being added to a song can change how you perceive it.
"3 Days Later" and "Area" were two more perfectly executed album tracks that persuaded you to exercise your rewind button. That brings us to "I Am I Be," a song in which Posdnous made the case to be considered one of the best MC's on the planet and he also confirmed what we had all feared, the Native Tongues crew dynamic was all but done. The Jungle Brothers who kicked off the entire movement just 5 years previous with their debut album Straight Out The Jungle weren't at the forefront anymore having been completely overshadowed by the accomplishments of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. While Tribe and De La remained involved with each other (Trugoy/Dove/Dave of De La Soul did the chorus of "Award Tour" the lead single off ATCQ's Midnight Marauders third LP which dropped less than two months after theirs did) the Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah & Monie Love were no longer in the fold, instead being replaced by Black Sheep and Leaders Of The New School. Then came "In The Woods"...
Over the knocking drums on "In The Woods" De La Soul playfully trade bars with Shortie No Mas punctuated by a classic verse from Posdnous where he hits us off with the gem "F*ck being hard/Posdnous is complicated!" and the atomic bomb declaration "Yo, that Native sh*t is dead so the Stickabush is comin'!" I'll never forget the reaction to those two songs when heads heard them 20 years ago, it was like Posdnous had pronounced someone we all knew had been in a coma for a few years & was unresponsive dead to the public. It was truly another era, yet another Golden Era with a completely different energy than the previous one possessed.
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