Album covers analysed: De La Soul, De La Soul is Dead

Not just a picture of shattered flowers…


The power of the visual metaphor should never be underestimated. Fans of the film Angel Heart will be familiar with the scene where Robert De Niro is waffling on about eggs being like souls, or some such hocum pocum, before suddenly biting menacingly into a hard boiled one that he had in his pocket. The single bite told you everything you needed to know – this man was evil personified, he ate souls for breakfast. O. M. G. That was scary. Which leads us slightly clumsily onto another visual metaphor – this time a hip hop related one, coming from the rap game’s Beatles, De La Soul. This album was the sublime follow up to the even more excellent 3 Feet High and Rising – a conscious rap classic, which found them not jheri curled and obsessed by guns (as was the fashion), but a little bit nerdy and loved up. And yet the group didn’t take kindly to everyone calling them cute little hippies, so decided to kill off their flowery reputation with a bold album title, and the brutal murder of some innocent looking daisies on the cover. The image is startling, vivid, and raw – even if the reality of the picture would only seriously affect an oversensitive housewife, or an ecologist like Sting. A fine record.

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Here’s one of the popular cuts…

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