MF Doom

20 Definitive Blerd Rap Albums

3. 3 Feet High & Rising by De La Soul (1989)


A year after NWA pushed gangsta rap to the forefront, De La Soul released a phenomenal debut that introduced the world to a more conscious and positive vision that was emerging from the NYC collective known as the Native Tongues. From their unprecedented eclectic sampling to their lyrics to their fashion, The Long Island MCs were black sheep in the rap game before Black Sheep. Although the album runs a little long, there are many gems here. “Eye Know” is still one rap’s sweetest and whimsical love songs. The bouncy “Say No Go” focuses on how of drugs have ravaged the Black community, rebuking the gangsta rap image that was gaining popularity at the time. The most important innovation was the introduction of skits in hip-hop music.

On their sophomore album, Posdnous noted that Arsenio Hall dissed the group when they performed on his popular late night show, calling them hippies. The show even started running the credits while they were performing as a further sign of disrespect. De La Soul were among the first rap artists to directly challenge the harder images and stereotypes dominating the culture at the time and what it meant to be cool. Blerds have had a difficult time being confident in who they are, so our list definitely has to include this album. — Brendon Spencer

Curator of the BlerdUp Podcast // Blerds out about: Comic Book Movies, Video Games, Hip-Hop, and Politics

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