Aftermath: De La Soul at House of Blues

"Hey, how you doin'? Sorry you can't get through. But leave your name, and your number, and I'll get back to you." If you know where that came from, you might be worth your weight in hip-hop.

In Aftermath's mind, De La Soul is made up of three killers. Posdnuos, Trugoy the Dove and P.A. Pasemaster Mase have been in the game, officially, since 1989's Daisy-Age herald 3 Feet High and Rising. Calling them forefathers of hip-hop almost seems wrong. Forefathers pass on to the new school, and hope they learn well.

This isn't the case with De La. The trio still has the skill and the drive of three kids from Long Island making dope-ass mixtapes. In a time when hip hop is coming out of its protracted adolescence and struggling to find itself, De La Soul's dedication to remaining both steady and prominent on the daily grind shows the new boys how it should be.

At House of Blues Sunday night, De La took the audience through various genres, infusing elements of jazz, R&B and. Blending all their songs together like a never-ending mixtape, with the audiences screams as the interlude, hits like "Ring Ring Ring," "Me, Myself & I" and "Shopping Bags (She Got from You)" were easily recognized alongside smaller references intermixed for fans' enjoyment. Did anyone else catch the sinister laughter coming from the intro to their collaboration with the Gorillaz on "Feel Good Inc."?

A special tribute was thrown out to James Brown with a remix of "You Feelin' Right," which led right into a special tribute on behalf of Barry White, Pimp C and, of course, Michael Jackson on "Breakadawn."

The best moments came when all three members would spit out a random freestyle. Hip-hop is built around improvisation; a good MC can spit out a grocery list and, with a decent enough beat, turn it into gold. Sunday, the time De La has taken to hone their skills and become masters of their craft shone through.

The trio isn't out to half-ass and just get by like some artists. Using no gimmicks or trickery, they recognize that they no longer have anything to prove that fans don't already know. The impression left behind was simple: they like what they do, and as long as fans continue to support them, will keep putting out records.

As Pos, Trugoy and Mase left the stage, the crowd began to scream for just one more. Let the encore begin: "De la, De La, De La..."

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Kim Douglass
Contact: Kim Douglass