Here’s the deal: this song changed my life. It wasn’t the first hip-hop song I ever heard but it was the first one that really made me want to find everything I could that sounded like. It was my gateway drug into hip-hop which would irrevocably change everything else I’d come to pursue later on, whether journalism, scholarship, DJing and of course, records.
But see…for the longest time, I credited the magic of this song (besides to De La Soul and Prince Paul of course) to the Steely Dan “Peg” sample. And look – it’s a great song. So slick and fun and groovy. But the thing is, what made me fall in love with “Eye Know” wasn’t the “Peg” loop. I realized (or perhaps remembered, see below) – literally yesterday – that it was The Mad Lads.
Those intro guitar strums? That was the initial hook for me. And the fact that the “Peg” baseline so closely follows them lead me to confuse them as being from the sample source. But while I still have affection for “Peg,” the things I liked best about “Eye Know” were those strums and the horns, all of which comes back to The Mad Lads.
File under irony: the first box set I ever bought was the Complete Stax/Volt Vol. 1 (but this song wasn’t on there).
File under irony, the sequel: I own this Mad Lads LP and apparently, I totally forgot about this song.
Now I’ll have to rethink my life narrative of the last 24 years.
P.S.: New De La album coming 2014. Bet on it.