You were born after De La Soul was pronounced dead. As you broke Bo Jackson’s single season rushing record at Auburn during the BCS National Championship, there were Oodles of O’s throughout the living rooms and social media of those over 30. “Oh shit, that’s his son.”
I’m writing what you’re reading while listening to THIS. I’m writing this because your peers probably don’t really know who your dad is or is flippant in their regard to his trio’s relevance. I’m afraid they Google him and draw false conclusions based on whatever images pop up. I don’t know the dynamics of your father-son relationship, nor is it any of my business. I recognize that you’ve earned your spot in this world based on your own merit and a birthmark doesn’t give you the power to break tackles, or does it?
De La Soul were influential architects of individuality over righteous beats. They embraced the “hippie” label, chewed it, then spit it out. Just like the logo of the Tommy Boy record company they were signed to, De La embodied B-Boy more than hippie; confusing others with their condescending confidence and creative self-deprecation. If your dad coached Auburn, every 3rd and 4th down would be a flea flicker and fake punt. They spent their whole career breaking tackles with the humor of Charlie Brown and Lucy playing football.
Plug 1, Plug 2 and Plug 3 created a tribal language and became the circulation of Native Tongue with the song “Buddy.” Out of whole NT collective (Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, Black Sheep and some others), they were the ones who rhymed the most fork tongue on the hypocrisy of Hip Hop culture while making countless references to uphold the blueprint of its forefathers. That’s why you and your friends may lack the attention span to appreciate your father’s body of work. Just understand that De La Soul and the Native Tongue were progenitors of an Odd Future.
You were born a month before the Buhloone Mind State album dropped so you heard it before me. Speaking of herd, I had an early studio copy and it was infested with goat noises. My whole dorm sounded like a barn. At the time a lot of groups suffered severely from bootlegging so that was De La’s comedic way of preventing further financial handicap to your college fund. That same year, a descendant group from Cali released “93 Till Infinity.” It’s a testament to your existence because mainstream critics said Hip Hop would never last.
When you go into the world don’t be surprised by the racially diverse groups of teachers, doctors, lawyers, sports agents and other professionals who quote “Me, Myself and I.” It’s ironic how a self-centered song broke ground for one of the most family-oriented, talented crews that made us all feel welcome to come into their house. Maybe honorary Native Tongue member Queen Latifah will invite you and your dad on her show to remind today’s critics of the redeeming qualities of Hip Hop. It might blow up but it won’t go pop.
Good luck on Draft Day, let them know where you come from!
T. Better Baldwin is a creative mercenary and ethical lobbyist who was born, raised and resides in New York City.