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Hip-Hop News: De La Soul is Back to Hip-Hop
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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
12/16/2003 5:12:39 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include De La Soul.

De La Soul is not dead, and neither is hip-hop -- despite rumours to the contrary.

In fact, after a pause in a nearly 15-year recording career caused by the collapse of their record deal, the Long Island trio of laid-back hip-hop geniuses -- MCs Posdnous and Dave and DJ Maseo -- are getting ready to release not one but two new albums in the new year. In the meantime, they're on a tour that brings them to clubs across Canada.

"We've been in the studio completing two albums," says Posdnous from Edmonton. "One is the third Art Official Intelligence album, which is more of a tribute to the DJs, with only one or two songs with Dave and me rhyming. We didn't want to cheat the public, though, so the other is a straight De La Soul album with us all over it."

This is good news for fans of the kind of hip-hop that isn't obsessed with guns, booty and Cognac -- the kind that De La Soul helped to invent along with their colleagues in the Native Tongues movement. On their landmark 1989 album, 3 Feet High And Rising, they worked comic skits and pop hooks from such oddball sources as Steely Dan and Hall and Oates into a funky, sunny, danceable mix. It was a huge success, but they were pigeonholed by some as lighweight hippie rappers, and spent most of the '90s trying to counter that with albums like De La Soul Is Dead and Stakes Is High.

"It was frustrating that people thought we were hippies, 'cause we never professed to be that," says Pos. "We want people to concentrate on the sound, not the visuals or the gimmicks. 'Cause once that stuff wears off, it's gone, you know?"

Like OutKast's Andre 3000, Pos laments the current state of hip-hop, but is less reluctant to give up on it altogether.

"It's all business rather than creativity," he says. "But focusing on the negative doesn't make it go away. You have to focus on the positive, and help bring it to the forefront.

"I think there are people who want to hear something that's not so harsh, but they may not know about alternatives within rap. When we came out, there was a whole selection to choose from: Us, Public Enemy, N.W.A., Naughty By Nature, everything. And that's what's missing now. It's just one style -- street talk and partying, rather than that mix of thinking and trying to get yourself right. I mean, it's grown-man hip-hop that we're doing. A lot of groups are doing that and want to give it to you, but people don't know about it."

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