De La Soul
With more than ten years of creativity, innovation, and honesty under their belts, De La Soul are the enduring definition of Alternative Rap. Whatever the mainstream trend happens to be, De La coax listeners into their neck of the woods with their friendly style and approach. The three plugs (Posdnous, Trugoy, and Pasemaster Mase) put their heads together with legendary producer Prince Paul to create hip-hop that laughs in the face of the latest crop of overnight superstars and their often ridiculous pretensions. Whether it's pounds of gold chains and hundred-dollar sneakers or claims of Mafioso status, De La Soul put everything in its proper perspective for their fans, who turn to the New York team for a shred of truth and a breath of fresh air. It's ironic that the one thing they've always been derided for -- their failure to act hard and adopt violent themes -- is what's placed them permanently in hip-hop's top echelons.