3 Feet High and Rising is the debut studio album by American hip hop trio De La Soul. It was released on March 3, 1989, by Tommy Boy. It marked the first of three full-length collaborations with producer Prince Paul, which would become the critical and commercial peak of both parties. Critically, as well as commercially, the album was a success. It contains the singles, Me Myself and I, The Magic Number, Buddy, and Eye Know. The album title came from the Johnny Cash song Five Feet High and Rising.
It is listed on Rolling Stone’s 200 Essential Rock Records and The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums (both of which are unordered). When Village Voice held its annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 1989, 3 Feet High and Rising was ranked at #1, outdistancing its nearest opponent (Neil Young's Freedom) by 21 votes and 260 points. It was also listed on the Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Released amid the 1989 boom in gangsta rap, which gravitated towards hardcore, confrontational, violent lyrics, De La Soul's uniquely positive style made them an oddity beginning with the first single, Me, Myself and I. Their positivity meant many observers labeled them a “hippie” group, based on their declaration of the “D.A.I.S.Y. Age” (da inner sound, y'all). Sampling artists as diverse as Hall & Oates, Steely Dan and The Turtles, 3 Feet High and Rising is often viewed as the stylistic beginning of 1990s alternative hip hop (and especially jazz rap).
It was ranked 7 in Spin's “100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005,” ranked 88th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. In 2003, the album was ranked number 346 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #20 in its list of “40 Best Albums of the '80s.” In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at #9 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s.” The album was also included in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.”