Hip-Hop heroes De La Soul have just announced they’re set to tour the U.K. with tickets at the London Roundhouse already sold out. However, the D.A.I.S.Y age, Afrocentric, jazz rappers are known by few and far in between – unlike their counterparts A Tribe Called Quest. Despite even winning a grammy in 2006 with Gorillas for their contributions to Feel Good Inc. Their use of sampling and the copyright complications this entails has meant none of their old records are cleared for online streaming music services. The group are frustrated that fans can only listen to poor quality, pirated youtube videos, but there is a silver lining. The rarity of their records has generated an aura around De La, almost like the hype surrounding Wu-Tang Clan’s secret album. The true sign of their artistry is in their sampling, experimental process.
“We would have jam sessions going on for about 15 minutes. Out of those sessions, we would loop something, or chop something up, or manipulate something, so each session could morph into three different songs, or even four”
Their latest album And the anonymous nobody was Kickstarted by fans partly because they wanted to work outside the constraints of a label’s invested interests (and due to the aforementioned). The Grauniad dismiss this as a, “meandering return,” but that’s what music is all about. That’s the only way for true creativity and innovation to flourish. People will enjoy it more in its raw form because it just sounds right.
So why review De La Soul in my first article? Modesty and self-awareness in the music industry go a long way. Their kaleidoscopic 3 Feet High and Rising record is abundant in goofy sketches and socially conscious lyrics. There’s also their big name features – from Johnny Cash to Snoop – which, for me, shows a wide appreciation of music in all its manifestations. Most of all, I feel they have a lot in common with our intentions here at [the retrospect]. Exodus, the last song on their new album, is as much an outro as an intro. I’ll leave you with its parting, resounding lines:
“We are the present, the past and still the future. Bound by friendship, fueled and inspired by what’s at stake. Saviors, heroes? Nah. Just common contributors hopin’ that what we created inspires you to selflessly challenge and contribute. Sincerely, anonymously, nobody.”