On Valentine's Day this year, something crazy happened. De La Soul gave away most of their albums for free, just for 24 hours. When I downloaded them, and listened through the entire catalog again, it jogged a lot of memories. I was a late-comer to this music, I'll freely admit it. The first time I really became acutely aware of De La Soul was with this song. Why? Because my college roommate played it on loop early and often.
Granted, that was also how I became acutely aware of Usher, but that's a trauma to relive another day. Something about this song, with its low-key guitar riff and guttural chorus, really grabbed me. It made me (back in the days of early 2000s days of P2P misadventures) "obtain" as much of their music as I could. In High School, I'd known little more than Wu as solid hip hop, my ignorance compounded by the godawful radio selections from where I grew up and crowded out by my monomaniacal obsession with obscure jam bands at the time.
"Oooh" was a key moment to change all that. From there I rewound to the joy of 3 Foot High and Rising and the stylistic marvels of Prince Paul's production. As I relived all of that a few months ago listening to all those songs again, I regained an appreciation for how much De La really did convert me into a hip hop fan, even if I came to them at a later point in their careers.
Another thing I'll always remember about De La? Seeing them perform at the 9:30 club at a late show on a Friday night. As Pos demanded we sing back chorus to him at 2:00 AM with taunts of "I can't hear you!" I remember thinking, "that's because I'm too tired. I'm getting old." I haven't really been to a late show at 9:30 since.