Various Artists – The Daisy Age (2xLP Restock) [Ace Records XXQLP2062]
It wasn’t really a movement, barely even a moment, but the Daisy Age was an ethos that permeated pop, R&B and hip-hop at the turn of the 90s. Playfulness and good humour were central to De La Soul’s 1989 debut album, 3 Feet High And Rising, which would go on to cast a long, multi-coloured shadow over rap.
In Britain, the timing for 3 Feet High And Rising couldn’t have been better. The acid house explosion of 1988 would lead to a radical breaking down of musical barriers in 1989, and its associated look – loose clothing, dayglo colours, smiley faces – chimed with the positivity of De La Soul and rising New York rap acts the Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest, all at the heart of a growing collective called Native Tongues.
The Native Tongues’ charismatic, summery aura quickly spread west to the Bay Area’s similarly-minded Hieroglyphics crew (Del Tha Funky Homosapien’s Mistadobalina); Canada’s Dream Warriors (My Definition Of A Boombastic Jazz Style) used 3 Feet High’s colour palette and borrowed Count Basie and Quincy Jones riffs; Naughty By Nature (OPP) were mentored by Native Tongues heroine Queen Latifah, while Londoner Monie Love was also adopted by the collective, resulting in her Grammy-nominated It’s A Shame (My Sister).
It wasn’t built to last, but the Daisy Age reintroduced Multiplication Rock, bubble writing and the gently psychedelic into the charts. It was a brief, but extraordinarily warm and optimistic moment. The songs on this collection promised that the 90s would be a lot more easy-going than the 80s.