De La Soul

A.O.I. Records / US

  • Saturday 18 23:15 - 00:15

    SonarClub by Tuborg - Silfuberg

Hip-hop may never be able to repay the debt it owes to De La Soul. When the trio of Kelvin “Plug Won” Mercer, David “Trugoy” Jolicoeur (now simply Dave) and Vincent “Maseo” Mason emerged in 1987 they empowered a new generation of MCs and fans to color outside the yellow lines of the asphalt jungle, charting a new course in the process. Sonically, lyrically and even visually De La Soul challenged the still gestating genre and imbued it with the DNA of irreverent humor, self-reflection and individuality not hindered by ego. Hailing from Long Island, they were good kids in the mad city giving rap a vaudevillian flair with game show inspired skits, reminding us that the present and future were indeed odd.

But more impressive than the influence they had on the culture, was the impact they had on each other, allowing the group to evolve with each project. From the colorful yet disparate pallets of Three Feet High & Rising, De La Soul is Dead and Buhloone Mindstate, to the clarion call of Stakes Is High De La’s music has always kept a kaleidoscopic lens on the world around them while reflecting on their place and participation in it.

Despite their well-documented jabs at the music industry and the culture it profits from, De La Soul always played well with others. Helping give birth to the legendary Native Tongues (along with A Tribe Called Quest and The Jungle Brothers) few groups can claim an album guest list that stretches across so many regions and genres. Their catalogue flaunts contributions by everyone from Maceo Parker, Zhané, Ceel-Lo Green, Devin The Dude and Chaka Khan to Slick Rick, Mos Def and Busta Rhymes without missing a beat. Literally and figuratively they were the original plugs.

De La Soul as a brand has always stood for uncompromising creativity that still adheres to hip-hop’s foundations of clever wordplay over superlative soundscapes. Maintaining that quality over several decades is what places them among the elite.