Hall & Oates Appreciation Day: “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”

An existential crisis brought on by a hip-hop sample.

To celebrate Hall & Oates’ election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Philly Mag writers are sharing their memories and thoughts about the Philly duo.

I very much grew up listening to Hall & Oates. They were one of my mom’s favorite groups (mom rock?), and I distinctly remember their album H2o (featuring the inescapable hit “Maneater”) being on the turntable constantly following its release in December of 1982.

And some time after that — maybe because follow-up Rock ‘n Soul Part 1 failed to produce a Part 2 — I lost track of Hall & Oates, relegating them and the impression they’d once made on me to the recesses of my psyche.

Until 1989, when Long Island hip-hop trio De La Soul‘s 3 Feet High and Rising came out and its “Say No Go” featured a pretty amazing sample of Hall & Oates’s “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” It was classic cognitive dissonance: This group I like likes this thing I thought I didn’t like anymore!

It was one of those moments when you come to peace with a key part of your upbringing — like when we discover that the hometown we spent our youths fighting like hell to get out of is actually not so bad and, y’know, maybe kind of cool in a way.

Is it lame that it took De La Soul finding Hall & Oates worthy for me to come back around? Probably. But it did. And I, ahem, can go for that.

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