April 21, 2024

Yasiin Bey, Black Thought, & More Talk De La Soul


Photo Credit: Apple Music

De La Soul was beloved by their hip-hop contemporaries and successors. Apple Music proved it during a 2-hour roundtable discussion last Friday (March 3), when hosts Ebro, Zane Lowe, Nadeska and Estelle spoke with key figures in hip-hop who were inspired by the group. Joining the conversation were Yasiin Bey, DJ Premier, Ab-Soul, DJ Shadow, Pete Rock, B-Real, and Black Thought. Damon Albarn of Gorillaz also joined the segment, featuring late De La member, Trugoy the Dove, on “Crocadillaz” on Cracker Island (Deluxe). Friday marked the official release of De La’s back catalog to DSPs, which followed a Webster Hall takeover the night prior.

Bey, also member of Black Star with Talib Kweli, said he first became familiar with De La upon hearing their 1989 single “Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin’s Revenge)” as a high school sophomore.

“I had never heard anybody expressing themselves like that in hip-hop. At the time I was heavy into Fishbone and Living Colour and Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane and all of that,” he said. “And I wasn’t really seeing that type of expression in my contemporary generation. But of course I was very much interested in hip-hop, but didn’t see my interest of personality necessarily reflected in and the expression in hip-hop in that era.”

Ab-Soul, who released his fifth album Herbert in late 2022, acknowledged the group’s fourth album, Stakes Is High.

“The first song that came to my mind was “The Dog Eat Dog” though. Yeah. ‘Cause I ain’t got time just staying around my love and all the wrong place,’” Ab-Soul said. “So I’m saying it’s like they was representing the vulnerability to where in that time, in that particular time, it was the players and the pimps, kind of like. Everybody was getting the women. They were representing the other part, the failure.”

Watch De La Soul’s final interview with Apple Music as a trio below.

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