“Buddy (Native Tongues Decision)” by De La Soul (feat. The Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, Queen Latifah & Prince Paul) (1989)

De La Soul’s “Buddy” arrived mere months before A Tribe Called Quest changed the hip-hop love song paradigm with “Bonita Applebum”. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Q-Tip and co. were inspired to make “Bonita” because of “Buddy”. After all, Tip and Phife Dawg (marking his first appearance on record) are both featured prominently on this hit. Even though they did the Funky Diabetic dirty by not including his verse in the video version.

“Buddy” (serving mostly as code for “body” but just as easily meaning “fuck buddy”) originally appeared on De La’s 1989 debut 3 Feet High & Rising before being remixed the following year.

The jazzy Commodores sample featured on the original version is swapped out for a healthy dose of Taana Gardner’s 1981 club banger “Heartbeat” and a verse from U.K. rapper Monie Love is added to provide a female perspective on things. It’s one of only two songs to feature all the members of the original Native Tongues crew, with De La, Monie and the Tribe members joined by their compatriots in The Jungle Brothers and a sung verse by Queen Latifah (interpolating The Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child”). Latifah returns later in the song, engaging in song-closing dialogue with De La producer Prince Paul. They adopt silly accents and engage in intentionally humorous pillow talk. I wouldn’t say “Buddy” is an especially sexy song, but it makes sex sound fun. Which it’s supposed to be, in case you haven’t heard.

Random thought while re-watching the video: wouldn’t a Q-Tip/Queen Latifah singing duets album have been dope?

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