Trugoy: There’s a feeling; there’s a magic; there’s a high that happens when we’re with one another making music. I wouldn’t get that high—I’d be chasing it for the rest of my life—with two other members or by myself. In order to get that high, that fix, that satisfaction, I need to be smoking with these two right here. There’s no other way to enjoy it. There is no other way. There was no agenda to come in and consider a solo career. All we know is each other. All we know is how to feed off each other’s energy. [From Joel Marisgan’s Lifelounge Interview]
When Three Feet High And Rising (a reference to either a diver ascending from underwater, or a Johnny Cash song) came out in 1989 and made NME’s Album Of The Year, I was, quite frankly, baffled. The nursery rhyme-style rap, the ‘love and harmony’ hippyesque message, the quiz show framework…it just didn’t seem to gel. As with a lot of other albums and musicians, though, time and this blog have forced me to re-evaluate, and although it would never go into my top 100 albums, I can now warm more to its playful side, its teasing reference to rock music’s past (Cool Breeze On The Rocks contains no less than 16 samples), and its casual bonhomie. This is three talented artists enjoying themselves and redefining hip-hop almost as an afterthought: almost too casually, as their being sued for using a sample without permission led to all tracks requiring license and often lengthy credits starting ‘contains a sample of’…. But it was not plagiarism, more an echo chamber for the band’s feelings and an affectionate tribute to their contemporaries.
Track 9 (Eye Know) is ‘an upbeat, feelgood love jam’ (Wikipedia’) dedicated to ‘the daisy of your choice/May it be filled with the pleasure principle/In circumference to my voice…let the wedding begin’. It made #34 in the FF 1989, and no. 14 in the UK single charts. From these dizzying heights, there was only one way to go: critical plaudits and falling sales. However, without them, jazz rap would probably never have got off the ground.