Released in 1989, De La Soul’s third single “Me Myself and I” established the group’s characteristic style of combining hip hop with humor and social commentary. The group’s frustration concerning their forced-upon hippie label is addressed in the typically dry humor which became the De La Soul trademark. The track contains samples of “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Funkadelic, “Rapper Dapper Snapper” by Edwin Birdsong, and “Funky Worm” by the Ohio Players.
In the summer of 1989, it became the group’s first (and only) number one on the U.S. R&B chart and first (and only) top 40 on the Hot 100 (aside from their later collaboration with Gorillaz on “Feel Good Inc”). It also reached the top 30 in the UK and was later ranked #46 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
It’s also worth noting that its music video – in which the trio are bullied for their “forced-upon” image of hippies while attending a high school class on how to be a mainstream rapper – features doppelgängers of many famous MC’s of the time, each with their own respective styles that De La Soul is not trying to copy for themselves. Lighthearted fun is had at the expense of the likes of Eric B. & Rakim, Run-D.M.C., Kool G. Rap, Doug E. Fresh and others. As the lyrics attest, they are proud of who they are as individuals.