De La Soul Interview

Pete Rock and CL Smooth were there. So were Greg Nice and Smooth B and Dres and DJ Premier. Masta Ace and Craig G were milling about just after performing, right next to Marley Marl and Large Professor. Even Edwin Birdsong and Michael Rapaport were there breaking bread with Hip-Hop’s living history; the cultivators of The Culture.

It literally felt like a family reunion in the BHF10 Artists section. Like one big Golden Era family reunion (minus the matching T-shirts). Daps and hugs went around like cyphers. Cats couldn’t wait to catch up — to reminisce for a spell — with fellow flag bearers.

And at the center of it all stood that day’s head lining act, De La Soul, just as elated as every other legend.

Pos, Mase and Dave have seamlessly crafted a twenty-one year career laced with a laser aimed focus on artistic reinvention and genre pushing creativity. They’ve bucked industry pressure to conform to commercial trends, and in the process, consistently redefined the look and sound of Hip-Hop. Most impressively, they’ve never disbanded.

As Mase and Dave tell it, the reason that De La’s remained united since 1989 is simply because, before everything else, they’re friends. Before the classic albums and world tours and international accolades, Plugs 1, 2 and 3 were just high school homies who loved making Hip-Hop music; who loved the atmosphere and natural high that came with working together towards a common goal. While most of their contemporaries broke up over misunderstandings, individual aspirations and industry bullshit — Pos, Mase and Dave continued to build on the bond formed back in Amityville, Long Island by maintaining the foundation of their legacy: friendship. spoke with each member of De La Soul — in between the daps and hugs going around the Golden Era Family Reunion — about stylistic influences, why Tupac dissed them on Makaveli, the reasons why the Native Tongues reunion never happened and how they’ve managed to remain unified since the first Bush administration.


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