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The second Pitchfork Music Festival is in fact the third such event curated by Pitchfork Media--the Intonation Music Festival, on hiatus this year, was in part Pitchfork's baby in 2005. Of the 39 artists playing, most are standard-bearers for the kind of indie rock Pitchfork has adopted as its raison d'etre--Cat Power, the New Pornographers, and Stephen Malkmus all have plum main-stage slots. But this year's lineup also includes plenty of hip-hop and jazz and a bona fide metal band, the first of the species to appear at the fest.

As usual there are two main stages, Aluminum and Connector (Connector is closer to Ashland), and a side stage, Balance. This year the main stages will both be outfitted with large video screens--a new perk--and the tent housing the side stage will be larger (and with any luck better ventilated). Most notably, the festival has also expanded into a third day--on Friday night Pitchfork and the British festival All Tomorrow's Parties present three influential artists performing their most influential albums in their entirety. Sonic Youth will play 1988's Daydream Nation, the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA will perform his 1995 solo masterpiece, Liquid Swords, and the intermittently reunited Slint will play 1991's Spiderland.

The festival is being held at Union Park, rain or shine. The two main gates, both on Ashland between Washington and Lake, open Friday at 5 PM and Saturday and Sunday at noon; a third gate, on Randolph at the east end of the park, will be open on Saturday and Sunday. All tickets and passes are sold out, but the on-site box office, on Ashland near the northmost gate, will open at 3 PM Friday and 10 AM Saturday and Sunday for folks who need to pick up their will-call tickets. The concerts are all-ages, and children under ten (accompanied by an adult) get in free. Reentry is prohibited, as are professional cameras, audio recording devices, weapons, and all outside food and beverage (except sealed bottled water). Folding chairs are permitted, and a guarded lot will be available for bike parking. For more information visit pitchforkmusicfestival.com.

Extracurricular activities on the festival grounds include dozens of booths for food vendors and nonprofits, the WLUW Record Fair, the American Poster Institute's Flatstock 13 convention (see Section 1 cover story), and a market for handmade clothing and accessories organized by the DEPART-ment collective. (On Friday the Flatstock exhibit, most of the food vendors, and the east-side gate will all be closed.) Off-campus events are relatively scarce this year--the only official concerts are a free lunchtime series at the Chicago Cultural Center's Randolph Cafe, 77 E. Randolph, curated by Pitchfork and several local venues; it began Monday and wraps up Friday at 12:15 PM with the Metro's choice, local psych-pop six-piece May or May Not.

There are of course a slew of unofficial Pitchfork-related events. Several festival artists have booked nonfest shows or DJ sets around town, and those gigs are noted in the write-ups below. The Empty Bottle's "We © Chicago" afterparties feature Gravy Train!!!!, Chromeo (see the Treatment), and Yo Majesty, among others. (Yo Majesty also plays a $10 Biz 3 afterparty at Sonotheque on Friday.) Some club shows are discounted or free for Pitchfork attendees, including Mucca Pazza at the Abbey Pub on Friday and the Gore Gore Girls at the Beat Kitchen on Saturday. For updates, check the Reader's music blog Crickets at chicagoreader.com. --Miles Raymer

FRIDAY13

6:30 Slint

Headliners Sonic Youth could plausibly claim to have invented indie rock, but Slint exerted an immeasurable influence on its development. Though Surfer Rosa proto-typed the quiet-loud-quiet thing in 1988, it was Slint's 1991 swan song, Spiderland, that proved you could take the loud parts from the Melvins and the quiet parts from Philip Glass without sounding absurd. The album is thoroughly of its era, but its six mini epics are so carefully scripted that they also function as repertory pieces, as timeless and self-contained as a centuries-old opera. This makes Spiderland perfectly suited for the song-by-song revival the band's giving it tonight--the compositions don't depend for their emotional force on the fleeting energy of the time and place they were conceived, but instead sound better (judging by Slint's reunion shows in 2005 and reports from their recent European tour) for the additional experience the musicians have accumulated. They've lived into the material, just as the rest of us have. Though they admit they've been fooling around in the practice space, they have no plans for another album--enjoy this while it lasts. Slint also plays Saturday night at the Abbey Pub. JN a Connector Stage

7:45 GZA

Released in 1995, when several members of the Wu-Tang Clan were branching out with their own projects, GZA's Liquid Swords is not only a personal high-water mark for the group's greatest lyricist but one of the best recordings made under the Wu banner, period: RZA delivers one of his finest production jobs, perfecting his mixture of dusty soul samples, stark beats, and menacing arrangements, and GZA raps with such style and substance that the album would've been a classic even without his comrade's efforts. Amid samples of dialogue from the bloody samurai flick Shogun Assassin, he paints a bleak picture of urban life, loading his fierce battle rhymes and oblique narratives with metaphors drawn from chess and martial arts. It holds up superbly 12 years later, and its dense, cryptic verbiage still requires careful listening to crack; GZA will perform the whole record tonight. PM a Aluminum Stage

9:00 Sonic Youth

There's something undignified about the indie-rock-nostalgia merry-go-round--it reminds me a little too much of the way baby boomers keep "classic rock" on life support--but I'm willing to put aside my reservations in Sonic Youth's case. The 19 years that have passed since the release of the band's undisputed masterpiece, Daydream Nation--which they're playing here from top to bottom--have done nothing to dampen its furious brilliance or dull the edges of its gleaming noise-punk epics. The recent double-disc reissue on Geffen includes vintage live versions of each track, but onstage Sonic Youth can easily equal--and maybe even smoke--their younger selves, despite having passed indisputably into middle age. MR a Aluminum Stage

SATURDAY14

1:00 Powerhouse Sound

Ken Vandermark plays a lot of horns in a lot of styles, but in Powerhouse Sound he sticks to hard-hitting rhythms and muscular melodies on tenor sax. The other members of the quartet--guitarist Jeff Parker, bassist Nate McBride, and drummer John Herndon--match his intensity, bringing undiluted rock 'n' roll ferocity to their lacerating electric noise and heavy funk grooves. BM a Balance Stage

1:00 The Twilight Sad

On their full-length debut, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters (Fat Cat), these gloomy Scots beat a whole subgenre at its own game: part U2 and part Mogwai, the guitars swell from wistful, romantic swirls to crashing storm surges at just the right moments, and the lyrics drop perfectly timed, novelistically detailed intimations of teenage despair. The lesson? Hooks help--and on these shores, so do those accents. The Twilight Sad also plays tonight at Schubas; the first 100 Pitchfork attendees get in for $5 instead of $10. MK a Connector Stage

1:30 Califone

What began as a solo project for Tim Rutili upon the demise of Red Red Meat in the late 90s has evolved into one of Chicago's most singular bands--moody and impressionistic, sometimes beautiful and sometimes terrifying, with an avant-garde brain and a traditionalist heart. Last year's Roots & Crowns (Thrill Jockey) is a mesmerizing journey through the fantastical landscape of Rutili's modest yet mythopoeic aesthetic; Califone is working intermittently on a new album, and Rutili is spending a lot of time in California doing soundtrack work for HBO and the History Channel. MK a Aluminum Stage

2:00 William Parker Quartet

If Pitchfork's organizers were looking for a band to represent the past 50 years of forward-looking jazz, they chose well. Parker uses a classic acoustic lineup--trumpet, sax, drums, and his own double bass--like a magnifying glass, bringing his sunny melodies and surging, swinging rhythms into white-hot focus. Saxist Rob Brown is also playing in a trio with cellist Daniel Levin at Heaven Gallery on Friday; see the Treatment for more. BM a Balance Stage

2:00 Voxtrot

On their self-titled full-length debut, these Texans roll with a full clip of minor chords, and they're not afraid to use 'em: each one's aimed at the heart of an ex, if not at singer Ramesh Srivastava himself. ("Cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a miserable fuck," he pleads in "Kid Gloves.") Voxtrot have also released three EPs over the past two years, and even though their nervy indie pop isn't totally consistent they've proved it's not just a fluke when one of their tunes hits its target straight and true. Members of Voxtrot and Klaxons DJ at an afterparty tonight at Debonair Social Club; it's free if you RSVP at modularpeople.com. JN a Connector Stage

3:00 Grizzly Bear

Each track on Grizzly Bear's recent Yellow House (Warp) has a gentle folk song at its heart, but the band likes to set its tunes adrift, stream-of-consciousness style, and let them unravel into tender psychedelia a la Animal Collective. I'd rather hear stuff like this in a living room than a city park, but with any luck the delicate music won't wilt in the heat or shrink from the wide-open spaces. MR a Aluminum Stage

3:10 Beach House

Beach House are misfits on the new Baltimore scene--the band's hazy, moody pop sounds like it's plugged into the feel-bad drug paranoia of the 70s, not the neon rainbow rad of the 80s. The songs feel like shadow-world Carpenters B sides, all mystical drift and death-march tambourine. JH a Balance Stage

4:00 Battles

Battles' latest, Mirrored (Warp), tells the tale of a post-rock band gone weird with software: like a video game stuck in a psychotic loop and hitting a slightly different permutation on every pass, each track progresses to its strangest potential. The album has a playful swing, just shy of a swagger, and a dizzying sonic vocabulary--there's dewy synthesizer, scintillating guitar explosions, stomping Krautrock drums, nursery-school sing-alongs, and chewy whispers, plus stuff that sounds like a soda-bottle orchestra, a game-show jackpot jingle, a twittering chipmunk, or an angelic barbershop quartet. Despite the shortage of compre-hensible lyrics, it feels storybookish--I imagine dwarfs merrily trooping out of a cave with wheelbarrows full of diamonds, sleeping in toadstool cottages under an owlish moon--but the narrative is definitely derailed, headed for the kind of trouble that doesn't have a "happily ever after" at the end of it. Depending on what kind of listener you are, you'll find some parts of Mirrored endearing, others repulsive--and part of what makes the music seem so earnest, despite its intense artiness, is that the band seems to know it. LA a Connector Stage

4:10 Fujiya & Miyagi

Not a Japanese duo but a Brighton-based trio, Fujiya & Miyagi recently released Transparent Things (Deaf Dumb & Blind), a stateside collection that includes three UK ten-inches, and the "transparent" part is spot-on: the band's cool, sleek, mechanistic fusion of disco-pop, cabaret, and low-key electro makes its influences very plain. There's a bit of reconstructed Can, more than a little Kraftwerk, and a hint of Serge Gainsbourg. The music's slight and glib and maybe a little too smooth, but these guys definitely know where the pleasure centers of the brain are. MK a Balance Stage

5:00 Iron & Wine

I confess I sometimes think of Sam Beam as "that brilliantly creepy songwriter guy," so I suppose I'm probably part of the reason he's going for a fuller sound and a lighter feel on his next LP, The Shepherd's Dog, due in September on Sub Pop. The disc includes one track in collaboration with Calexico--a sort of follow-up to In the Reins, the EP they did together in 2005--and the first single, "Boy With a Coin" (which includes two songs not on the album), came out July 10. MK a Aluminum Stage

5:15 Professor Murder

Professor Murder caught the last dance-punk train out of Brooklyn, before everyone started doing beardo wolf jams instead. A four-piece with a couple part-time percussionists and a full-time drummer, they're a fun, shambly party band at heart, specializing in konky minimalist fonk with hella cowbell--plus, they're not scared of dub. They play a second show tonight at the Hideout with Oxford Collapse. JH a Balance Stage

6:00 Mastodon

Every Mastodon album since 2002's Remission has been a landmark of sorts, a mysterious metal monolith dropped onto the landscape with a crunch that registers on the Richter scale. The music is almost flawlessly crafted, with the kind of obsessive attention to detail you usually see from guys building ships in bottles or sculpting Devils Tower out of mashed potatoes. On Mastodon's major-label debut, last year's Blood Mountain, their usual combination of furious precision, crushing density, and melodic grace is entirely intact, and if anything the songs are stranger and less straightforward--it doesn't look like the band had to promise to tone down to make the leap to the big leagues. And of course you know you've arrived when you score a cameo as a bunch of animated concession--stand snacks in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. MK a Connector Stage

6:15 Oxford Collapse

With their big, catchy hooks, epic thrift-store guitar jamminess, and just-a-bunch-of-scruffy-guys-rocking-out 'tude, Oxford Collapse would've been indie huge ten years ago. But in the here and now, last year's Remember the Night Parties (their third LP and first for Sub Pop) has been tragically underappreciated--despite providing a refreshing reminder of how good plain old gimmick-free indie rock can be. They play a second show tonight at the Hideout with Professor Murder. MR a Balance Stage

7:00 Clipse

There isn't much to Clipse's recent Hell Hath No Fury (Re-Up Gang/Star Trak) besides drums, cocaine talk, and jokey wordplay, but that's not a complaint--brothers Malice and Pusha T (and of course beatsmith Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes) are masters of minimalism. Without straying from their single-minded focus on the coke-slinging game, they deliver songs that range in feel from futuristic hedonism to claustrophobic paranoia--and that add up to one of the tightest, most nuanced rap records in years. MR a Aluminum Stage

7:15 Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon's sweaty-computer-nerd dance tracks combine razzle-dazzle melodies and ADD beats, and on mike he alternates between barking silly-goose lyrics and spinning prismatic, existential tall tales; his latest full-length is Spiderman of the Rings (Carpark). LA a Balance Stage

:00 Cat Power

Chan Marshall doesn't seem afraid to dismantle the troubled-indie-genius mythology that's grown up around her. On You Are Free (2003) she ditched the strum-and-sigh fragility that'd earned her a slavish fan base, and on last year's The Greatest she made a ballsy tribute to classic southern soul. She's more or less sober these days, and the things that used to turn so many of her live shows into slow-motion emotional car wrecks--withdrawn mumbling, paralyzing self-criticism, unfinished songs--all fell away when she cleaned up. Marshall kicks ass onstage now, and for this set she's fronting a kick-ass band, Dirty Delta Blues, that includes members of the Dirty Three, the Delta 72, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. MR a Connector Stage

:30 Girl Talk

Pitchfork threw its star-making power behind laptop DJ Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, and voila, in a matter of months he went from hopeful mashup kid to the first and last name in turning the party out. Mixing good pop music with "bad" pop music for the ironic-appreciation set, Gillis puts his software into overdrive to create a real MP3 mosh pit. JH a Balance Stage

9:00 Yoko Ono

For decades her name was a punch line, shorthand for "unlistenable freak" and "difficult woman" (badges of honor, really), but for the past 15 years Yoko Ono's reputation has undergone a steady and consistent rehabilitation--younger musicians finally understand that her fiercely feminist oddity is a feature, not a bug, and that the spiritual simplicity of her art and activism isn't just the by-product of naivete (surely she can't have much left at 74). For this spring's Yes, I'm a Witch (Astralwerks), Ono enlisted artists as diverse as the Flaming Lips, Porcupine Tree, and Le Tigre (to name just a few) to overhaul recordings from her back catalog, creating an album of challenging remixes. Though she's fiercely protective of John Lennon's legacy, she recently donated the rights to his songs and their publishing royalties to Amnesty International, a gift that's resulted in a two-CD collection of Lennon covers, Instant Karma, that benefits the agency's campaign for Darfur and features the likes of U2, R.E.M., Green Day, and the Black-Eyed Peas. And a few years back she rewrote "Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him," one of her tunes from Double Fantasy, so that its lyrics support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. MK a Aluminum Stage

SUNDAY15

1:00 Deerhunter

Deerhunter's fondness for abstract soundscaping and the almost confrontationally intense onstage emotional nakedness of lead singer Bradford Cox are qualities you'd expect to find in a performance artist, not an indie-rock buzz band, but the disarming way they break up their howling psychedelia with bits of pure, jangly pop made them the unlikely champs of this year's hype contest at SXSW. The recent LP Cryptograms mostly segregates the "song" songs from the experimental bits, and the follow-up EP Fluorescent Grey (Kranky) doesn't have too many experimental bits to begin with--but Deerhunter's live show remains a compelling and occasionally unsettling trip. Members of the band DJ at Danny's tonight, opening a free show for Valet (see the Treatment). MR a Connector Stage

1:00 Fred Lonberg-Holm's Lightbox Orchestra

For nearly a decade cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm has been convening different incarnations of this large group, drawing from the worlds of jazz, rock, and experimental music. He uses a box festooned with large Christmas lights to shape the arrangements--each player is assigned a color and can only play when his light is on--and supplements those cues with instructions or symbols scribbled on poster board. Nonetheless he leaves the musicians plenty of breathing room, which helps his groups avoid the dry patches that often plague conducted improvisations. This lineup is particularly strong, and includes reedist Ken Vandermark, trombonist Jeb Bishop, trumpeter Nate Wooley, guitarist Jeff Parker, and percussionist Michael Colligan--a guy who can do amazing things with dry ice and a hot kettle. PM a Balance Stage

1:30 Ponys

Turn the Lights Out, the Ponys' first album with new guitarist Brian Case of the 90 Day Men, is also their first for new label Matador--and these days the Ponys sound like nothing so much as a great band from the Matador roster circa 1995. I can't say if they listen to as much Television as it seems they do, but they've learned the same lesson those fellows did about making profoundly self-indulgent rock 'n' roll that's still delirious fun to listen to. MK a Aluminum Stage

2:00 Brightblack Morning Light

"We're not living in a tent right now," Brightblack Morning Light write on their Web site, "but you should know our Matador Records long play debut was written/recorded entirely sleeping under the sky without walls or roofs." They must power their lava lamps with solar cells. Their burbling, folk-inflected brand of candle-staring music is so langorously graceful that calling it soporific isn't an insult. MK a Balance Stage

2:00 Menomena

The members of this Portland trio generate most of their material in "Deeler sessions," using a computer program one of them wrote called the Digital Looping Recorder that allows for anything-goes real-time stacking of instrumental layers. Of course, you don't need to know that to sink into the lumpy bedsprings of their third full-length, Friend and Foe (Barsuk). Its avant-pop crooning, off--kilter melodies, and shivery, metallic guitar and keyboard tones--like the sheet of tin low-budget theaters use to imitate thunder--are unified by a wry, beguiling eccentricity that reminds me of Here Come the Warm Jets. MK a Connector Stage

3:00 Junior Boys

On their full-length debut, Last Exit, this Canadian duo seamlessly fused twee melodies and Italo-disco synth grooves to create a plaintive kind of electro-pop that the critics adored. But on their follow-up, last year's So This Is Goodbye (Domino), they try a slicker approach informed by modern R & B, bringing the quiet storm to indie kids who dance. The recent EP The Dead Horse showcases remixes of tracks from So This Is Goodbye by Hot Chip, Carl Craig, and others. JN a Aluminum Stage

3:10 Nomo

Like Antibalas, Nomo started out as clunky Afrobeat pretenders, then slowly grew in confidence and ambition. The infectious groove pioneered by Fela Kuti and Tony Allen still provides the throbbing heartbeat for most of Nomo's music, but this Detroit-area combo has been widening its repertoire. That's not always for the best--the soul and jazz accents on "Moving in Circles," from last year's Better Than That EP (Kindred Spirits), can't redeem the mediocre white-boy singing--but when this band nails a tune, uncorking one crackerjack solo after another over a merciless beat, it's a thing of beauty. PM a Balance Stage

4:00 The Sea and Cake

For their recent seventh full-length, Everybody (Thrill Jockey), the Sea and Cake worked with an outside producer for the first time (drummer John McEntire has usually handled the job), and the result is the band's most direct, live-sounding effort. Otherwise their diverse and sophisticated pop-rock hasn't changed radically: they're such focused and patient musicians that they can work on a development for a couple albums before it's audible to the rest of us. Archer Prewitt has been sneaking in increasingly aggressive guitar lines, McEntire's playing is more visceral, and vocalist Sam Prekop is writing richer melodies that move in counterpoint to the instrumentation rather than following the guitar lines. The different sections of the songs all head off in their own directions, with sharp little transitions and bridges to make each verse and chorus stand out in relief. PM a Connector Stage

4:10 Craig Taborn's Junk Magic

Keyboardist Craig Taborn likes his music slippery but not sloppy. A phenomenal pianist, he can braid post-Cecil Taylor tone clusters and free-bop yarns with the best of them, but his skill with electronics is what really sets him apart. In Junk Magic his melange of samples, programmed beats, synth squiggles, and nonidiomatic keyboard lines collides with the crawling microtones of Mat Maneri's viola and Aaron Stewart's saxophone; despite the music's sometimes bewildering density, the crisp, powerful playing of drummer David King (of the Bad Plus) keeps it feeling nimble. PM a Balance Stage

5:00 Jamie Lidell

Multiply (Warp), Jamie Lidell's breakthrough retro-soul album, is pretty much seamlessly excellent, but onstage he doesn't seem too concerned about re-creating it precisely. Instead he approximates the disc's thick arrangements with off-the-cuff loops, stacking up programmed rhythms, various idiosyncratic vocal sounds, and beatboxing--lots of beatboxing. How much you enjoy his set is almost exactly propor-tional to how much mouth percussion you can handle in one sitting. MR a Aluminum Stage

5:15 Cool Kids

Chicago duo the Cool Kids are best known as party rappers, thanks to their frequent appearances at jam-packed Flosstradamus gigs, but Mikey and Chuck can do more than just crank up a roomful of people who showed up totally itching to go nuts. With their lyrical smarts and a retro-minded flow reminiscent of classic EPMD, they come out looking fine next to most any rapper happening right now--they even hold their own on a DJ Benzi track they share with the unstoppable Lil Wayne. MR a Balance Stage

6:00 Stephen Malkmus

Former Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus will perform solo, which strikes me as a dicey proposition. His records, both with Pavement and the Jicks, have always depended on skillfully loose arrangements (and the occasional surprisingly tight one) for their charm. On 2005's Face the Truth, for instance, sharp twin-guitar leads and wiggy, indulgent synthesizer prop up some of the less memorable songs--as well as Malkmus's voice, which sometimes sounds too weary to carry a tune. He's working on a record, so I'd expect a lot of new material. PM a Connector Stage

6:15 Cadence Weapon

Canadian rapper, producer, and critic Cadence Weapon is best known for his deranged, blogger-beloved remixes of Lady Sovereign, Rick Ross, and Kid Sister, among others. But Epitaph recently reissued his 2005 album Breaking Kayfabe in the States, and its combination of loopy abstraction and manic, party-pumping electronics could easily vault his original work into the spotlight too. MR a Balance Stage

7:00 Of Montreal

The combination of raw-ass depressing lyrics and sparkling glam pop on Of Montreal's recent Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and its companion EP, Icons, Abstract Thee (both on Polyvinyl), comes as close as anything I've heard to capturing in sound the glittery confusion of actual schizophrenia. Unlike schizophrenia, the music is also incredibly fun, overflowing with giddy, psychedelic hooks that fly in the face of its dark themes. MR a Aluminum Stage

7:15 The Field

If house is the sound of a washing machine with an unbalanced load (kadathunk kadathunk kadathunk kadathunk), then the Field's music is the pristine, weightless whir of a lab centrifuge in a flying saucer. After a slew of excellent 12-inches and comp appearances, this past spring the Field (aka Swedish electronica artist Axel Willner) released the full-length From Here We Go Sublime (Kompakt), and tracks like "Good Things End" have such a seamless, mesmerizing pulse you can imagine them playing from a tape looped into a Mobius strip. The Field also plays a live set at Smart Bar tonight. JN a Balance Stage

:00 New Pornographers

Canada's best and brainiest power-pop band has a terrific new album, Challengers, due on Matador in August. It splits the difference between the frothy, instantly catchy songwriting of the group's first two records and the more oblique approach of 2005's Twin Cinema, and though I've only heard it a couple times, I can already say it's their richest effort yet: the elaborate vocal harmonies have never been better executed, and the front-loaded arrangements overflow with details that should only get more affecting with repeated listens. Alas, Neko Case won't be with the band for this set. PM a Connector Stage

:30 Klaxons

Klaxons only called themselves "new rave" to begin with because the guy who ran their first label did and they wanted to go along with the joke. Now they're widely credited as progenitors of the genre, even though only one of their songs is VapoRub friendly--"Atlantis to Interzone," which has been remixed hard and put away wet. You already know exactly how it goes, and that's totally the reason you want to see this band. Members of Klaxons and Voxtrot DJ at an afterparty Saturday night at Debonair Social Club; it's free if you RSVP at modularpeople.com. LA a Balance Stage

9:00 De La Soul

A few years ago, when I was driving with my dad and listening to De La Soul, he reached over and turned it up, saying, "Is this 3 Feet High and Rising or the one with the plant on the cover?" I just looked at him, speechless. "What?" he said. "Everybody loves De La Soul--they were huge." And then he went back to rapping along with "Say No Go." Maybe in retrospect we tend to think of De La Soul as underdogs because the posi vibes, social conscious-ness, and clever goofing that landed them on MTV almost 20 years ago are the sort of things you usually only see in indie rappers today--it's certainly hard to imagine De La wallowing in the crass small-mindedness of most contemporary commercial hip-hop. They weren't entirely mainstream even at their most successful, and thankfully they're still an anomaly now. JH a Aluminum Stage

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