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De La Soul 

When: Fri., Feb. 12, 10 p.m. and Sat., Feb. 13, 8 & 10 p.m. 2010
Price: $40

Long Island trio De La Soul brought something fresh and new to hip-hop with its 1989 album, 3 Feet High and Rising. At the time, hip-hop really was avant-garde, and it was a much dorkier, quirkier genre -- replete with odd slang terms, self-effacing lyrics, and chunky dance beats. But De La Soul was still in a class of its own. No one had ever heard of rappers with a sweet tooth for daisies and pastel colors. They had tricky stage names: "Trugoy" was an anagram of "yogurt," while "Posdnuos" was "sound sop" spelled in reverse; P.A. PasemasterMase was, well, highly alliterative. To many rap listeners, they seemed like hippies. (In the track "Me, Myself, and I," Posdnuos tried to deflect that stereotype: No they're not, that's pure plug bull!) Despite such misunderstandings, De La Soul had enormous staying power. Twenty-three years and ten albums since the group's genesis, De La Soul has matured along with its fanbase. Last year the group teamed up with Nike to release a single-track "workout music" record called Are You In? This year, it's entered the jazz club circuit. De La Soul performs at San Francisco Yoshi's (1330 Fillmore St.) on Friday, Feb. 12 (10:30 p.m.), and Saturday, Feb. 13 (8 & 10 p.m.). $40. Yoshis.com

— Rachel Swan

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