Sometimes I forget about the tag line, if you will, of each week’s track. “Happy”.
I’ll admit it. I went too deep into this one. I listened to it the first few times and had some theories as to what the “eye” refereed to. They were… out there. I did some substantial reading up on Freud that didn’t pan out. I read lyrics. I struggled.
Then it just kinda struck me.
Let’s start with “Me Myself and I”. At first I gave a notion to the idea that “I” was referring to “hip hop” and, to simply, music, in a more general sense. I got to thinking about what exactly their music was like. A few weeks ago De La Soul gave all their music away for free online. One of the albums I copped was De La Soul is Dead. I had also listened to 3 Feet High and Rising recently, so I was up on De La’s sound. I really felt like De La Soul was unique. I look at the albums that came out around ’88-90, with 3 Feet, being released in ’89: Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold us Back, NWA’s Straight Outta Compton, Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. Gangsta rap was taking violent and explicit leaps and bounds. But it’s “Happy” week. It’s different. They were going in their own direction. The “I” in “Me Myself and I” refers to just that. Him. Be it Posdnuos or Dove. It’s them. “But when it comes to being De La / It’s just me myself and I”; “When it comes to being Plug One / It’s just me myself and I” “De La Soul is from the soul / And in fact I can’t deny / Strictly from the Dan called Stuckie / And from me myself and I”. They’re so confident in themselves, that they’re really celebrating their uniqueness and, to level, celebrating themselves. That “happy” thing. A big part of being happy is loving you. Celebrating yourself. De La is doing just that. Loving them. Because it’s so damn smooth and chill, you love them too, accept their message as your own and BOOM… happy.
It wasn’t as clear in “Eye Know” to understand the meaning of “eye”. Now, I’m going take a pretty simple approach to the spelling of the “eye” in this one. A while back on reddit I saw someone mention something along the lines of, “why don’t rappers misspell track names anymore?”. Even though it’d come out six years after 3 Feet High and Rising, Big L’s Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous exemplifies this with tracks like “8 Iz Enuff” and “No Endz, No Skinz”. The hook in “Eye Know” comes from Steely Dan’s “Peg” and is “I know I’ll love you better”. Now, “Eye Know” is definitely an ode to hip hop. This is mixed in with a message of love for a woman. Not as clear cut and constant as Tupac’s “Me and My Girlfriend”, though. The “eye” or “I” (I’m sticking with a misspelling theory) in this case is referring to him, again, the rappers, Dove and Posdnuos, but also referring to the music. “But clear your court cause this is a one-man sport / And who’s better for this than Plug One”–it’s braggadocio and so lovingly sincere. It’s pretty damn unique. “When I put the needle into your groove”–again, pretty solid wordplay. “I know I’ll love better” is referring to his love for the girl as well as his love for hip hop. It’s like being the biggest number one all-time fan of something. It’s devotion and love all wrapped up in one.
Personally, I don’t like when rappers spell things incorrectly, but I understand and embrace the phonetic spellings of things.
Once I got it, understood the meaning of the ‘I’s, I think I was finally able to see the joy and happiness in it. They truly are happy, joyful, and to a level, love songs. Again, it’s the idea of celebrating uniqueness and loving ourselves. It’s so flowery you’ll even find them on the cover.