[5] De La Soul, ‘Say No Go’

De La Soul

Junior greeted the first few bars of this with a well-timed Godfather of Soul-style “Owww”. Totally unprovoked; she just felt the music, man. She went on to applaud the snappy use of Hall & Oates, clock De La’s message and assure me that she’d rather know a shover than a pusher ‘cos a pusher’s a jerk.

Now, here was a ludicrously over-long album that just about held it together. Even the skits weren’t quite aural torture – but that’s not to say we can’t blame them for abominations that followed; indeed they got the “crap skit” ball rolling themselves on De La Soul Is Dead, as they set off on their resolute path to have no more hits. For a summer, though, the world was De-La-Cratic.

When I hear this song, I see black and white dusty ghetto streets. Was that the video? Or were they the Home Counties mean streets where I kicked around, shocking passing pensioners with my modishly wide school trousers and billowing hair?

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[15] De La Soul, ‘Eye Know’

De La Soul

3 Feet High & Rising, the soundtrack to a summer spent at Berkhamsted’s late, lamented outdoor swimming baths. A girl called Nova came over one afternoon and asked me what I was listening to – “De La Soul,” I said.  She was nonplussed and I didn’t pursue it.

Junior’s more hip to Mase, Pos and Trugoy – rocking with the best and putting in a brave effort to overbalance her highchair. We dotted around the album after this song, and ‘The Magic Number’ sent her loopy, but we’re here for ‘Eye Know’, where the magic number is two and Junior can wriggle with delight when she spots her favourite Steely Dan samples. She can only take them in small doses.

It’s a cutely formed little gem; the sweetest moment of De La Soul’s fresh take on hip hop. A fresh take fired, I suppose, by acid house and E and the Cold War thaw and Arsenal’s slaying of the Liverpool monster and the break-up of Microdisney and the first inklings of the demise of Thatcher – all fusing together to bring a new hippy era. Daisy this, daisy that.

[18] Tricky, ‘Black Steel’

“How long has it been they got me sittin’ in the state pen?” thought Junior as she stared up once more at the hanging bars of the Winnie the Pooh playmat. “I gotta get out, but that thought was thought before. I contemplated a plan on the cell floor. Turns out it’s just a few original AA Milne illustrations of Tigger, Eeyore et al. I’m not a fugitive on the run. I can barely sit up, let alone crawl away from this land that never gave a damn.

“I got a letter from the nursery the other day; opened it and read it, it said they were suckers. They wanted me for Happy Hippos or whatever – picture me givin’ a damn, I said never.”

Superb record, inspired cover. Tricky was at the top of his game in 1995, Maxinquaye an album that was so right for that very moment. It doesn’t happen often. 3 Feet High & Rising, Debut, Screamadelica. Throw me a bone here.