De La Soul Speak Out
by Davey D
Email Davey D
Davey D: Right now were chilling with 2 of the 3 members of the legendary group De La Soul. We have Plug 1 aka Posdanus and Plug 2
aka Trugoy. But now your going by the name Dave Banner. Also Pos you too have taken on a new name whats that about?
Posdonus: Every album we add a new name. I usually go by the name 'Plug Wonder Why' or 'Mercenary'.
Davey D: So what are you Pos the Mercenary?
Posdonus: Yeah, you see Mos Def's brother DCQ gave me that name. My last name is Mercer so everyone calls me Merc so everyone just started calling the Mercenary of the De La.
Davey D: Trugoy when did you just start calling yourself Dave?
Dave [Trugoy]: It's something that's kind of happen over the last four years... That's one of the cool things about Hip Hop you can take on different names, working different characters and taking on the vibes and attitudes of those characters. But I tell you, as many times as I have changed those characters I'm still me.
Davey D: So if I listen to you guys and compare you on your first album 3 Feet High and Rising to your latest one Art of Intellegence, will I see and hear a major difference as you go from Trugoy to Dave?
Dave [Trugoy]: Yes definitely. I think Trugoy was innocent and new to the game. He was fresh and excited. I think you will hear that excitement on our new album 'Bionics' but I think you will also hear that growth and confidence and strength.
Davey D: Now I have a beef with you guys. What was the deal with the release of your albums. When I got I was expecting the other 2 to quickly follow. You had announced you were going to release a trilogy of albums. Instead I got three variations of AOI. I got a remix album and an Instrumental album. What happened with the other two?
Dave [Trugoy]: I hear you well from our side, we basically set out to drop 3 albums in a year's time. It just wasn't as feasible as we thought it was. In the mist of recording and after recording, you have to go promote the record. Then you have to go on tour. For De La, we usually drop an album every 4 years. Its been a challenge for us to try and make it happen sooner than 4 years. So 2 years gap is what we're working with. The new album is coming very soon.
Davey D: On AOI you guys had some bangers including 'Its All Good' with Chaka Khan and 'Ohh Ohh' which if you play at club right now, still sets the party off. However, I noticed a certain facet that had a familiar feel, but there was also a different vibe that I just can't put my finger on. I'm not sure if it was a little bit harder edge. Explain what I was feeling but can't explain.
Dave [Trugoy]: I think it was a sense of being comfortable. There was a sense of us feeling like we were in an experimenting mode again. I think in the album before 'AOI' we had 'Stakes Is High' which was a message album. We had something to say. We were talking about where Hip Hop was and at and how things were a little shaky in the game With AOI Pt 1 it was a relaxed album. It was a getting back into being easy again and not having so many messages or us having to hone in on a particular topic or theme. It was about partying and having a good time. For us that was cool because we had never done that.
Davey D: You mentioned something that was key and maybe you can elaborate on this. I've spoken to a lot of artist about this. So many people have gotten involved in the business. They own their own labels or their signed and they are now faced with the challenge of having to navigate and make their way through what are now huge conglomerations that house record labels. What has happened over the years is that achieving the 'bottom line' has become the central focus. I haven't heard from a lot of people who are having fun. Nor have I heard from a lot of people who are doing like you-experimenting and seeing how they can push themselves as artists. Its at a point now where DJs don't even go to record stores anymore. I remember when De La Soul first came out. You guys would release limited, unique versions of some of your popular songs. Like I remember a track with Little Jeff and another cut that had the Muppet song. DJs would run around trying to figure out how to get these limited edition copies of your records. I miss those days. What has happened with the rap game that we don't have that creative spirit anymore?
Dave [Trugoy]:I think the art of it is gone. The fun part of it is gone. The art of Hip Hop which includes digging for records and trying to find some creative things to implement on a single. We had singles where we added 3 or 4 extra songs. It seems like a lot of people nowadays take the attitude of 'I'm just gonna do my required 13 or 14 songs. I'm gonna get my check and hopefully all this will help open doors so I can do movies. I think what's been lost is the love for the art. I think the business is a great thing now because it gives us the opportunity to be young entrepreneurs and have careers and support our families and friends. But I think the business end of Hip Hop has overridden the artistic side.
Davey D: Can one be a business man and an artist at the same time? It seems like being a businessman prevents you from being creative.
Posdonus: You definitely can. You have to have someone in your corner that can hold down the business side of your career 100% while your checking in and at the same time focusing on being creative and being an artist. Yes its definitely hard to do it all at the same time, it can be done. Things can be done easier if you have a manager who can hold it down. And handling all the day to day tedious business stuff while you focus on satisfying your appetite to add creativity to your art.
Davey D: I hope you don't take this wrong, but I first met you guys when you started out. Although you all were good I never associated De La Soul with being emcees who would take you out in a battle. I saw De La Soul as a group that was positive and put out good albums and associated the art of spitting dope rhymes to other emcees like Big Daddy Kane or Rakim. 10 years later you're on the Spitkicker Tour and all that has changed. Today cats see De La Soul as a group that will take you out in an emcee battle. What has happened over the years? You elevated to a point where people know and respect the fact that you can flow. Have you guys deliberately worked on stepping up your game and changing that image?
Posdonus: Yes it's definitely a progression in that task. When we did '3 Feet High and Rising' we were happy just to be inside the studio and we were very content on being creative and grabbing from different elements, ingredients of music and topics more than executing flows.We always had different styles like repetitive styles or stutter styles. Stacking up and improving the game of our lyrics has improved with each album. I really love that about the group whereas even down to Mase the DJ, he flows too and can hold his own.
Davey D: Nowadays cats look at you differently. Back in the early days folks felt they could step to you and battle. Now they have to think a second or third time before making that move. But one of things that I think has been somewhat obscured over the years is the fact that you guys come out of the Native Tongue family. Do you think that concept of Native Tongues reach its full potential? Also you were one of the first groups to bust out wearing the African medallions do you think there's room to bring that back? Can De La Soul lead the charge and help get rid of the platinum watches and fancy chains?
Posdonus: Where I see it from is usually and fortunately it takes someone who really feels that and believes in that and by them showing themselves wearing that if they as a person or character if they are accepted by the audience of today, it becomes a fashion statement. It spreads out to everyone and then everyone picks up on it as a fad as opposed to doing it for real. African medallions were no different then the gold people wore before the medallions or the platinum chains now. As that fashion moves away there are people that still wear them because that s what they really feel and that s what they live by. However, it was great to have people, even in a state of fashion try and be positive and not have to worry about spending so much money. The medallions allowed you to have more money to spend on your family and be true to yourself. You start to realize that this platinum chain or ring doesn't make who I am.
Davey D: Do you think by coming out on the African medallion tip that it put you guys in a box and limited what directions you as artists could take. Lets put it this way, when I saw the video 'Its All Good' with you guys and Chaka Khan I was shocked to see De La Soul have half naked women in their video hanging out in a hot tub. I said to myself 'that s De La Soul, they're not supposed to do that!" Did you feel like past images boxed you in and you had to break out?
Dave [Trugoy]: Yes
Posdonus: It definitely happened in the beginning. People tried to pigeonhole us. We were already a group that was all about change and ready to try different things. What we saw after '3 Feet High and Rising' is that people kept expecting us to do things that same way. They wanted to continue hearing us to do things that way, that 's what inspired the album 'De La Soul' is Dead'. Death to us is always another high level of change. We're always going to keep trying to change. Even with that video 'Its All Good' we were just trying to play the role of certain characters. Unfortunately we didn't get the budget we wanted where we could completely show that we were playing off the movie 'Car Wash'.
Davey D: Speaking of change.. What can we expect in the second album of the trilogy 'Bionix'?
end of part 1 De La Soul interview.....
Go Back To Interview Directory
Go Back To Davey D Homepage