Obscure Records, Mistakes, and Mixing By Hand: Prince Paul Reconstructs the Making of ‘3 Feet High and Rising’

Gino Sorcinelli
Aug 21, 2008 · 11 min read


“That was basically it, that equipment and a bunch of records.”

Gino: What sort of production equipment were you guys using on 3 Feet High And Rising?

“Pos had a deep collection. His dad had some really obscure records, which helped us out a lot.”

Gino: Did you teach everyone else the technical aspects of production or did the rest of De La bring their own knowledge to the table?

“I’d say, ‘Yeah, let’s gate that and compress this.’ Meanwhile I didn’t know what half the things did.”

“Me and Pos used to mix everything by hand. We didn’t have automation. Everything was kind of on the fly as the song went along.”

Gino: To be honest with you, since I’m a younger guy, I didn’t start listening to the album until almost a decade after it’s release when I was in middle school. I don’t think there has ever been an album that comes close to 3 Feet High in terms of how imaginative it is.

“Wherever their imagination went and whatever songs they wanted to use, it was up to me to figure out how to sample it and make it into a song.”

“As opposed to just doing it for them, I was trying to teach them. My intention was to just work with them on that one album and then have them do the rest of their albums themselves.”

Gino: You say that you were setting them up to go on alone after 3 Feet High, yet you ended up staying on for their next two albums. Was that a surprise?

“That’s more or less the reason that De La Soul came about. I needed a creative outlet and they came at the right place and the right time.”

Gino: So they only had a one album deal?


Micro-Chop

Dissecting beatmaking, DJing, music production, rapping, and sampling.

Gino Sorcinelli

Written by

Freelance journalist @Ableton, ‏@HipHopDX, @okayplayer, @Passionweiss, @RBMA, @ughhdotcom + @wearestillcrew. Creator of www.Micro-Chop.com and @bookshelfbeats.

Micro-Chop

Dissecting beatmaking, DJing, music production, rapping, and sampling.