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In March, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive an exclusive reissue of De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising, the landmark debut LP from NYC rap group De La Soul. A mix of samples and dexterous rapping, it’s one of the defining albums of ’80s rap, and the Native Tongues movement that included contemporaries like Queen Latifah and A Tribe Called Quest. You can read an essay on the album here, and sign up to receive it here.
Below, read why we picked 3 Feet High And Rising, and the details of our reissue.
Andrew Winistorfer: This is a title that, at least as long as I’ve been at Vinyl Me, Please, has been one of the most requested Records of the Month. Everytime we do a classic rap album, there’s people on social media saying, “Why haven’t you done 3 Feet High and Rising?” which became especially loud when we did Buhloone Mindstate last year in Rap & Hip Hop. It’s been big on our surveys, too. Sometimes, the answer here is as simple as people want this record, this record rules, we love this record and we can put it out. We’re just giving the people what they want. Just so happens they want one of the best rap albums of all time.
Cameron Schaefer, Vinyl Me, Please Head of Music: This feels like the feeling I had when we did Ready to Die. We’re known for doing the less obvious stuff, but sometimes, this is one of the best records that’s ever been made, and I want it. One of the benefits of working at Vinyl Me, Please in the capacity that we do is that we’re in a position where we can sort of curate to our own wants and record collections (laughs).
You’re talking to someone who has used Classics as basically that for more than a year now, so, agreed (laughs).
Yeah, I want a really good remastered reissue of 3 Feet High and Rising, and now we’re going to get it.
And since this is a record that got in before rap sampling costs got out of control, it’s one of the rare records that exists as it did back then in vinyl form, but because of the way their contracts were written, it would cost thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars for this to ever make it to streaming services intact, so the best way to hear it is on vinyl.
This album was born to be played on vinyl, too; all the samples were sourced from old records, so this should be heard on record in its best form.
Another fun fact is that this is our first ever ’80s album in Essentials. We did Queen Latifah in Rap & Hip Hop last summer, but in six-plus years of being a club, this is our first ’80s album in our main subscription. It’s not like we actively avoided that decade or even tried to do one on purpose, but it’s crazy that it took this long. People are always like, “When are you going to do an ’80s album?” and I’m sure they mean Kajagoogoo. But this is ’80s. We did it!
Yeah, that’s nuts. In some ways, I’m glad it’s this, and not what people are thinking of when they think “The ’80s!”
This one was remastered from the original tapes by Rick Essig at REM Sound, and comes in a heavyweight wide-spine jacket with spot-UV embossing on it.
And it comes on cool splatter vinyl.
The vinyl colors are really nice and match the cover perfectly. The album art lends itself to a crazy package color-wise, and I think we honored that without distracting from it. Visually this is one of the nicest packages we’ve ever made.
Note from VMP: We have sold out of our 1-month subscription allocation for De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and multi-month subscription options are in going quickly. We’re so thankful to De La Soul for supporting our vinyl reissues despite their current label battles and wish them the best as they push to make things right!
Andrew Winistorfer is Senior Director of Music and Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need in Your Collection and The Best Record Stores in the United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 30 VMP releases, co-produced multiple VMP Anthologies, and executive produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Vanguard, The Story of Willie Nelson, Miles Davis: The Electric Years and The Story of Waylon Jennings. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.