De La Soul’s sophomore album, De La Soul Is Dead, was released on May 14, 1991. Sometime in late 1991, while I was in 7th grade, my class went on a field trip, and on the bus ride I sat down next to a friend of mine (whose name I remember vividly but whose business I won’t put in the streets) and she handed me her headphones so that I could listen to this new De La Soul tape she had.
By the time I handed back the headphones, my life had changed. My purpose became clearer. Or something. But, for roughly the next 25 years, De La Soul Is Dead was, hands down, my favorite album, regardless of genre, period. It was (and still is) so highly revered in my life that when I had one of those moments where I realized that maybe A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders had taken over that spot, I had to write about it. Be clear though: It only moved De La Soul Is Dead to the 1A spot.
The album is so good that it was given a 5 Mic rating in The Source, back when that actually mattered. Produced entirely by Prince Paul (one of the most underrated producers in the entire history of hip-hop), it is a masterclass in sampling. This album, similar to De La’s debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, was chock full of samples; the sample lists for both albums extended almost into the hundreds. It is quintessential early ‘90s hip-hop and “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays” is proof positive as to why.
De La Soul “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays” (1991)
For starters, the beat goes. It also features Q-Tip and Vinia Mojica. And while we’re here, somebody needs to do a whole ass documentary on Vinia’s contributions to hip-hop and why she never released a solo album. The song sounds like it was made for the roller rink and jams in the car as well. When Vinia sings the word “Saturday” and holds the last “aaaaayeeeeeyay” it reminds me of warm hugs. And De La Soul’s lyrics and the topic of fun times will get you through the weekend.
So for your Saturday, kick off your shoes and relax your feet....AND PUT ON SOME ROLLER SKATES and jam out to the sounds of 1991 with “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays.” You ain’t throwing a ‘90s party if this joint ain’t playing.
Hey watch that, it’s a Saturday.