De La Soul: "We personally feel like we have a responsibility to continue"

De La Soul Confirms They Will Continue Making New Music

Published Tue, March 28, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT

Rock The Bells, LL COOL J, and De La Soul recently gathered at the Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure Exhibition inside the Michael Todd Room at the Palladium in Downtown LA for the latest installment of Rock The Bells radio's Influence of Hip-Hop. The intimate setting — framed by several of Basquiat's masterworks — served as the perfect place to dig into De La's storied history.

The hour-long conversation touched on a variety of different topics which we highlighted below. Specifically, that De La Soul's remaining members Posdnous and Maseo are committing to making new music after the passing of Trugoy the Dove.

On the early years

Maseo: I'm on my way to the military. They're on their way to college. I just wanted to play with the static in the radio to be able to turn the dial while it's playing. Go back to it and there's my song. That's all I really wanted. And then Red Alert played it. So that was a milestone. I was like, I arrived. If Red is playing it, Marley playing it. I arrived. I'm finally in this respected game called Hip-Hop and it had nothing to do with money. It was had a lot to do with acknowledgement and respect.

On their chemistry

Posdnous: It was the marriage between myself and Dave. We just kind of had this like mind that really nourished each other. He amped me. I amped him. We got approval from a group like Ultramagnetic.

On "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa"

Posdnous: We were on our way off of the train. We came from Long Island that goes to probably Hotel Amazon. We was heading to a club. We was on the platform. There was a homeless guy. He's asleep, got a wine bottle. He's knocked out, and he had a dirty grungy Santa Clause outfit on.

Immediately in my mind, "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa. Literally, I just looked at him. I pulled out my bag. Then there was no phones. We had little notepads. I just wrote that down. I said to Dave like, "Yo, this would be a ill title. And like I said, the immediate support: "Word, Merce, that's dope." But he was like, "What would it be about?"

I didn't know. I held onto the title. So just like to bring it back to the art. Walking around seeing these amazing paintings and these words written down, that's how we did. We just wrote words down and then added meaning and substance to it later. So then someone very close to me went through that (child abuse). It was like, "Yo, I can make it about that." Then Prince Paul sent us this cassette tape that had a bunch of beats on there, and this music started playing — this Funkadelic sample. And I said to Dave like, "Yo, it's this song right here, it's this. It just flowed out of me. I just wrote it that quick. He was like, "Yo, what you're writing is so dope. You write it." He let me write the entire thing.

On making new music as De La Soul

Maseo: I personally feel like we have a responsibility to continue. Not only for his legacy, but for what we've done for Hip-Hop, and what Hip-Hop has done for us. We got involved in something as a childhood dream that actually became something that's bigger than us. So to walk away from it — it's is like abandoning your child. And I couldn't abandon this. Not when it's the very thing that changed my life. The very thing that I wanted to be a part of in my childhood. I'm going to do this until I die. Like my comrades.

On the newer generation

Posdnous: It's something we love, man. We love everything about this. And I love still studying. I love being that same kid who used to tape The World's Famous Supreme Team or Mr. Magic or Red Alert. Whoever it was on the radio. We would just listen to these dudes. We are those kids then that we study music and we love it and we want to apply it to our lives.

We've never been those dudes as a group who will be like, "Nah these new kids, they're not what they need to be, and being bitter. We want to be a part of showing excellence, quality, and also bridging gaps to work with younger kids to show what it is.

I love when people say that. Like, "Yo don't complain about it, be a part of it. So we are part of this. We want to show what we can execute. What we can give, what we can nurture. It's a blessing to get flowers from people, but it's about getting flowers and seeds to plant new flowers. That's what we talking.


Maseo: He was always the villain. When he moved to KMD to become MF Doom, he carried on that whole mantra even offstage like Andy Kaufman. The villain existed all the time. Doom would come to to soundcheck. Do the soundcheck. Take half the money. Bounce. Send the imposter to do the show.

Posdnous: There was times where that his own DJ didn't even realize that he was going to do it

Tune into Rock The Bells Radio Channel 43 on Sirius XM to hear the entire interview.

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