Pop: Rap's coming home

DE LA SOUL JAZZ CAFe LONDON

RAP, SO long the thief of black music's fertile heritage, has suddenly discovered it has a history all of its own. What else could explain the resurgence of all things hip hop?

High-street shops are groaning with haute couture evolutions of track suits and trainers last seen in East Coast America's dodgiest housing projects, and those old school warriors, Run DMC, only recently relinquished their stranglehold on the charts with Beastie Boys collaborator Jason Nevins.

It would be tempting, then, to look to one of rap's longest-standing and most innovative acts to preside over this rejuvenation. De La Soul's 1989 album 3ft High and Rising was the form's high point, a jokey, intuitive classic, every bit as characteristic of the year as the Stone Roses' eponymous debut across the Atlantic.

The Daisy Age that the threesome were said to have heralded, proved to be nothing more than a brief respite in rap's decline. De La Soul offered rap an ironic, cerebral future at the start of the Nineties; instead it chose to water down the politicised scaremongering of more vitriolic groups such as NWA, credited for keeping their coruscating rants "real".

The Daisy Age was never going to survive gangsta rap's scathing nihilism, a fact that the group themselves recognised in their disastrous second album, De La Soul is Dead.

True to the prevailing mood in hip hop, the trio mounted a rootsy, stripped- down show last night. Free of flowery imagery, they performed with a grand piano propping up their record decks. Rap, they seemed to be saying, is coming home.

Posdunos, Dove and Mace were joined by another rapper and this addition seemed to sum up their refreshing attitude. De La Soul - while they've learnt how to party - still appeal to your better nature. The quartet rattled through 3ft High and Rising, not to get their best known hits ("Me, Myself and I" and "Hey, How Ya Doin") out of the way, but to get feet moving.

The fundamentals of hip-hop performance were there: the crowd participation, the good-time rhetoric. But they are still the only rap group you would take your mum to see.

In a sly dig at the misogyny notoriously peddled by Prodigy, De La Soul showed their liberal credentials: "Smack my bitch up? I never did it." It's hard to believe this vibrant bunch were responsible for the mordant "Stakes is High".

If De La Soul sound like social workers who found a microphone, they aren't. Other groups - Arrested Development and A Tribe Called Quest - inherited De La Soul's original intelligence, a succession that seems to suit them.

De La Soul are playing the Jazz Cafe, London NW1, tonight and tomorrow. This review appeared in later editions of yesterday's paper

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week