De La Soul: Peer Love
This year is an exciting time for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival for many reasons. Not only has the Main Day Festival expanded into an entire week of events but also this year De La Soul is the Headliner – a feat six years in the making. This is a performance that is monumental for both Hip-Hop and fans alike, and hasn’t been done in New York for the last decade. De La Soul is the legendary group best known for introducing positivity into Hip-Hop with their debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, at a time when it was dominated by intensity and machismo.
The group hasn’t looked back since, continuing a progressive career that spans over 20 years. The Long Island trio has influenced numerous other Hip-Hop artists since and continue to today. But rather than us bore you with details of their career (which you can find on Wikipedia), we decided to let you hear what the group means straight from the horse’s mouth. Here we’ve rounded up performers from past and present BHF’s to speak to on the importance of De La Soul’s legacy. Check out what DJ Premier, Pharoahe Monch, Buckshot and more had to say about the legendary emcees below.
“The amazing thing about De La Soul for me is how they can simultaneously be veteran Hip-Hop legends and make current music with the hunger and excitement of a freshman. They allowed me as an artist to be totally comfortable and honest with my art expression, my style and my voice. They are hands down one of my greatest influences in Hip-Hop. They may be the most underrated groups in music history yet still world-renowned. De La Soul has the kind of the career that I desire to have and they make the kind of music that I continually aspire to make…they are quite frankly the best, hands down.” - Pharoahe Monch
“As an artist, the highest compliment I have ever been paid is by De La Soul, when they told me that the way I put my mixtapes together reminds them of their own work. Wow! These guys wrote the book on creativity, subtlety, attention to detail, and they embody the absolute best of Hip-Hop culture. Newcomers today don’t even realize the extent to which De La’s creative influence has affected every corner of this music, especially those like myself who strive to further the culture and push boundaries in our own right. Challenging conventional wisdom, exploring every creative possibility, speaking so powerfully that it impacts a whole generation that’s true artistry. That’s De La Soul.” - J.Period
“As far De La Soul is concerned, without them, that moment never would have happened for me. I have every album De La ever made. Having all these skits on albums, De La started that. Teaching people to be comfortable being themselves — that’s De La. Pride, love, talent, that’s De La. My favorite is De La Soul is Dead as an album, but Stakes is High, 3 Feet High and Rising, Buhloone Mindstate, Grind Date, AOI Bionix, this team has always come phenomenally correct. I love the Maceo Parker blowing soul out this horn on Buhloone Mindstate too. Cats are just so comfortable doing whatever they want, super pro with the music too – melodies, lyrics everything. They are one of the greatest musical crews of all time without question, not even just in Hip-Hop but in music. The Beatles, Nirvana and De La Soul, word up.” – Homeboy Sandman
I’ve never seen De La Soul perform. The one time I was supposed to at a festival in Detroit it got cancelled for rain, so I can’t wait to see them! My fave song from them would have to be “Stakes Is High” and another personal favorite is “Dog Eat Dog” from that same album. That put all the pieces together for me. – Black Milk
“They are just like an awesome group. One kind of story I have is I remember running up on Pos’s brother — this is before I met De La Soul. Pos has a couple brothers and one brother in particular named Lucky, who looks just like the spitting image of Pos. I saw him one time in Penn Station years ago and I ran up on him thinking it was Pos. And it was actually Lucky [laughs]. I mean, other than that, I’m just a huge fan. They are my peoples, I still look up to them. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite song or album because every album is as dope as the next one. If I had to pick I would say 3 Feet High and Rising, because that’s what set it off for me. The first time I met them was when I did the interlude with them on the first Lyricist Lounge album. My song served as the intro/ interlude for the whole album and De La Soul was hosting it, so they recorded over my beat. I was like aww man, I’m working with De La Soul! Even though they were just talking on my little ass beat [laughs].” – 88-Keys
“My man Joe Buck actually did the artwork for De La Soul as well as their logo. He did the De La Soul is Dead album cover as well as a bunch of their single covers. He is also the guy that did my logo, so that is my little personal connection to De La. He actually did that cover in his college dorm room. So, we’ll definitely be out there to see them rock.” - Skyzoo
“If it wasn’t for De La Soul there would be no Boot Camp Click. What De La Soul bought to the table that no one else bought to the table was that they were the first ones to introduce the family atmosphere to the industry. Like they had the Native Tongues, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, The Jungle Brothers and that’s where I personally got the idea for the collaboration of Boot Camp. They had all these people down with each other, like we have Helta Skelta, Smif N Wessun, Black Moon etc., we learned it from them.” - Buckshot
“Actually I broke 3 Feet High and Rising back in ’88, ’87. Ever since then those guys have been really, really cool. Mace is my homie. Dave and Pos are the ones I really interact with when it comes to the music you know because Pos makes beats. He actually made a lot of De La Soul’s beats after Prince Paul. I think De La Soul is one of the illest rap groups that’s different from everyone, still doing Hip-Hop.” – Pete Rock
“De La Soul embodies every aspect of Hip-Hop. They are original, I remember the first time I heard “Plug Tunin’” I was like what in the hell! The beat was hardcore and the rhymes –- you didn’t know what the hell they were saying so you studied it over and over until you understood what their rhymes meant and it really made sense you just had to be that sharp with knowing lyrics. So, shout out to Mace, Dave, Pos my n****, I love yall. Their show is so original and tight, they are very animated. I even got to fill in for Mace one day in Spain because Mace’s flight got delayed –- he missed the connection to get to the show. I knew their show so well that I ended up doing it to the tee. Even when they did “Rock Co.Kane Flow”, I flow just like they do in the show because I was that much into respecting how they do their thing. So, I already know they gonna tear it down [at BHF] and again. Anything regarding De La Soul I am a hundred-million percent a fan. They are one of the best ever.” – DJ Premier