Grammy nominees stop by the 'Boat

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In less than a week, De La Soul will go from the stage at the 48th annual Grammy Awards to the stage at Levelz nightclub in Ski Time Square.

De La Soul, a three-person rap group from Long Island, N.Y., whose classic 1989 debut album "Three Feet High and Rising" infused messages of peace and love into an increasingly violent hip-hop scene, was nominated for two Grammys this year for the Gorillaz track "Feel Good Inc.," which features De La rhymes.

The track reached as high as No. 14 on U.S. charts and No. 2 in the U.K. It also was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. De La Soul performed on-stage with Gorillaz and Madonna at the Grammy's on Wednesday.

Understandably, they were a little hard to get a hold of this week.

"We're trying to prepare for a Grammy performance, understand?" their tour manager, who goes by "Smiles," said Tuesday over a cell phone cluttered with background noise.

Understood, Smiles. Understood.

The lack of communication doesn't change the fact that Steamboat rap fans are in for a hot show Sunday night at Levelz.

De La Soul members Kelvin Mercer, David Jude Jolic"ur and Vincent Mason -- or Plug One, Plug Two and Plug Three -- have compiled an impressive rap sheet since their debut album, making a name for themselves as masters of sampling, inventive lyrics, skits and jazz fusion with albums including "De La Soul is Dead," the smooth 1996 release "Stakes is High," and their latest work, 2004's "The Grind Date."

Along the way, they joined hip-hop coalitions such as the Zulu Nation -- which included A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep and The Jungle Brothers -- and the Native Tongues Posse. The group also set a precedent for sampling rights after they were sued by the Turtles for using part of "You Showed Me" on their track "Transmitting Live from Mars." The case initiated purchasing rights laws for sampling.

In addition to "The Grind Date," the group also released "De La Mix Tape: Remixes, Rarities and Classics" in 2004.

For many twenty- and thirty-something fans, the infectious hooks on "Three Feet High and Rising" tracks "Me, Myself and I" and "The Magic Number" can transport the mind straight back to high school.

Whether Sunday's show is a trip down memory lane or a journey into the ever-changing world of De La Soul, it should be a guaranteed good way to spend a night in Steam--boat.

¤ Performance by iconic rap group De La Soul

¤ Sunday, doors open at 9 p.m., show at 10 p.m.

¤ Levelz in Ski Time Square

¤ $20 in advance; tickets available at All That Jazz and Lupo's

¤ DJ Also Starring will open

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