A singles collection from the authors of hip-hop's greatest full-length? True, De La Soul may not be as desperate for this type of compilation as a notoriously album-weak rapper like Busta Rhymes, but Rhino's Timeless: The Singles Collection is an excellent alternate look at one of alternative rap's finest crews. As with nearly every other Rhino compilation to hit the shelves, it's presented in chronological order, with no major (or minor) highlights missing, emphasizing the best periods but also stubbornly refusing to shirk latter-day material (yes, taking four tracks from 1996's Stakes Is High is definitely pushing things). In direct opposition to the usual Rhino compilation, however, over half of the versions here are remixes -- and mostly superior versions at that, not radically different from the familiar album tracks -- taken from singles. For instance, each of the six tracks here from their masterpiece, 3 Feet High and Rising, are mixes, including a skeletal, hard-hitting rework of "Plug Tunin'," the far superior posse version of "Buddy" (featuring Jungle Brothers, Q-Tip and Phife, Queen Latifah, and Monie Love), and the radio version of the P-Funk classic "Me Myself and I" (their biggest hit, natch). The disc also includes nearly all the can't-miss jams from later albums ("A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays," "Breakadawn," "Ego Trippin'," "Stakes Is High," "Baby Phat"), making it the perfect complement for fans who thought they only needed one De La Soul disc.
AllMusic Review by John Bush
feat: Devin the Dude