They Be Blowin': The Jazz Icons on De La Soul's 'Buhloone Mindstate'They Be Blowin': The Jazz Icons on De La Soul's 'Buhloone Mindstate'


They Be Blowin': The Jazz Icons on De La Soul's 'Buhloone Mindstate'

After the bitter issues around their master ownership and sample clearances, there’s now a taste of victory for De La Soul: their catalog finally hits streaming platforms on 3/3/23—the magic number. To celebrate that, here’s our revamped feature on the jazz greats—available on Tracklib!—who appeared on De La Soul's last Prince Paul-produced album: 1993’s 'Buhloone Mindstate.'




January 19, 2023

De La Soul’s first two albums solely leaned on production work and intricate sampling by beat wizard-slash-skit originator Prince Paul. Most notably with their monumental sampling masterpiece, 3 Feet High & Rising. Their third album Buhloone Mindstate, however, was the first album to officially credit a couple of jazz musicians playing on the album: Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, and Pee Wee Ellis, three former mainstays of James Brown’s band and Parliament-Funkadelic.

Maceo Parker

I Be Blowin'

Trombonist Fred Wesley and saxophonists and Maceo Parker & Pee Wee Ellis contribute to "Patti Dooke," a song about the misappropriation of Black music into mainstream culture. The track features a cameo by the late great Guru, who dropped the jazz-meets-hip-hop crossover opus Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 half a year before De La unleashed its buhloone.

But it’s saxophonist Maceo Parker (pictured above) who steals the show with his soul-penetrating sax on "I Be Blowin'." He flows smoothly and freely over a rhythm of the David Axelrod-produced “You've Made Me So Very Happy” by Lou Rawls. Later on in the album, the music returns as "I Am I Be." This time also featuring Fred Wesley & Pee Wee Ellis. The song features some of the most personal and introspective verses by Posdnuos and Dave to date, with Posdnuous’ first commentary on the Native Tongues collective falling apart: "Or some tongues who lied / And said ‘We'll be natives to the end.’ / Nowadays we don't even speak. / I guess we got our own life to live."

"It might blow up, but it won't go pop"

Producer Prince Paul extends that heavy touch of jazz on Buhloone Mindstate by sampling Milt Jackson, Blue Mitchell, Jimmy Ponder, Al Hirt, Dick Hyman, among many, many others—needless to say, also sampling from a wide variety of other genres. Upon its release, the jazz-infused album was praised for its free-spirited creativity and lyrical originality. Earning 4.5/5 mics by The Source, and decades later a 9.1 by Pitchfork—getting close to the perfect 10/10 score for 3 Feet High & Rising.

As put by De La Soul in the intro as the album’s mantra: “It might blow up, but it won’t go pop.” Let’s hope their music finds the masses on an even bigger scale, now De La Soul’s catalog is finally bound to hit streaming platforms.

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