With input from the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, selected 25 works regarded as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
The honor positions 3 Feet High and Rising as part of an elite group of just 325 total recordings selected by the NRPB for preservation, ensuring that “these cultural, artistic and historical recordings always will be available to the American public.”
The Native Tonguers join other hip-hop acts, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Public Enemy and 2Pac in the NRPB. Pac’s “Dear Mama” was inducted into the registry last year, while Flash’s “The Message” was added in 2003 and P.E.’s Fear of a Black Planet LP was honored with the distinction in 2005.
Released in 1989, 3 Feet High and Rising was praised by the NRPB for “bucking hip-hop’s increasing turn toward stark urban naturalism in the late 1980s” with an “upbeat and often humorous album [released] to widespread acclaim in the U.S. and abroad.”
The debut album – which spawned singles including “Me Myself and I” and “The Magic Number” – was also noted for its “astonishing range of samples.” —Lauren Carter