De La Soul

A child does not stay naive when he begins to run. But when he plays.

De La Soul put out their fourth album, Stakes Is High, in July. They're on tour through October with Goodie Mob and Fishbone. Posdnuos and P.A. System Mase participated in this chat. They shared the handle DELASOUL, but they put their names at the end of their comments when speaking only for themselves.

Sonic-mod Do you think your sound has changed with this album? Some people think you changed it to keep the mainstream crowd happy.

DELASOUL We didn't change anything for the mainstream -- there were certain messages we needed to get across to the world at large. -- Pos

YodaRed When do you think hiphop will finally be free from "the mainstream" and we can get back to MCs keeping their lyrics as they want them -- no more of this bullshit changing styles for money?

DELASOUL When everyone gets the nerve to take a pay cut and get back to the art. --Pos

Sonic-mod Are there any artists, rap or otherwise, that you would like to work with?

DELASOUL Nas and Dr. Dre, that is pretty much it right now.

Sonic-mod How's Tommy Boy Records treating you guys?

DELASOUL Adequate.

SPACEGRRL If you had to pick, who is your favorite band ever?

DELASOUL My favorite band is Run-D.M.C. --Pos

Sleepy Mase, are you still DJing clubs?

DELASOUL Big time, anytime I get a chance. --Mase

Sleepy Who or what inspires your lyrics?

DELASOUL My daughter and my bills. --Pos

S Why did you guys split with Prince Paul?

DELASOUL We didn't split with Prince Paul, we just didn't work with him this album. We were just with him the other day. --Pos

S Pos, ever think of playing your trombone on a track (or maybe you have already)?

DELASOUL No, I can't play the trombone anymore, because I have bad lungs. --Pos

S Sorry to hear that. Maybe try the guitar, bass or drums.

God What do you think about singing in hiphop songs?

DELASOUL If it fits the song, there is nothing wrong with it.

God Then why do you say "I'm sick of R&B bitches over BS tracks" and you got Zhane all over yours?

DELASOUL Zhane aren't bitches, they are beautiful women with beautiful talent.

Sonic-mod What do you think of techno and jungle?

DELASOUL I can't really get into it, it dulls my nerves. --Pos

YodaRed Is hiphop still as fun to make/perform/listen to as it used to be?

DELASOUL Hiphop is definitely fun to make because it leads to everything else -- the biz is what f*cks it up.

God Why do you even gotta be in the biz to make hiphop?

DELASOUL So I can get paid like the rest of the industry is. There is nothing like getting paid at what you love the most. -- Mase

StudioDon You guys would make more loot (I think) if you released records annually.

DELASOUL We don't come out with albums annually cause we are fortunate to do a lot of touring, but we will be out in '97 with a new album.

SPACEGRRL How do you guys feel about being dubbed "veterans" of hiphop?

DELASOUL We consider ourselves to be very young in this rap game -- there are a lot of artists much older than us.

Sonic-mod How has hiphop grown over the years?

DELASOUL Hiphop hasn't changed much at all -- it has been very stagnated over the years. It has become very profitable if you know what you are doing.

God Why was Prince Paul a Gravedigga?

DELASOUL He has always been into horror films and gory movies, so him and RZA put together the Gravediggaz.

YodaRed Let's call out some names like more and more people keep doing in hiphop -- who's music do you think is terrible?

DELASOUL It doesn't solve anything to call out names -- while Puffy and Suge are killing themselves, Clive Davis and Tommy Mattola and Time Warner are making mad dough. --Pos

StudioDon I want to produce a De La track. How can I get that hookup?

DELASOUL If you want to submit some music for De La, mail it into the fan club listed on the back of the Stakes album.

God Would you ever hear any of that submitted music?

DELASOUL Definitely -- we listen to every tape, especially when we are on tour. --Mase

NiN Do you like Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor?

DELASOUL Yes, NIN is cool but I don't know who Trent is.

S You seem to have a self-definition song on each album -- from "Description" to "Pass the Plugs" to "I Am I Be" to "The Bizness." Is that intentional? It shows how you've grown over the years.

DELASOUL That is what De La Soul means, "from the soul." So we will continue to talk about things that directly affect us.

Sleepy Either of you dig Kool Keith?

DELASOUL Kool Keith is the shit -- he made me want to rap. --Pos

StudioDon Mase, what's up with that club in Farmingville -- you still got a piece of that?

DELASOUL You know your shit -- the club didn't last because the owner didn't want to get a liquor license. --Mase

MistaCee On your song "Long Island Degrees," you said "I got questions if you are ready to die." Is this directed toward Biggie?

DELASOUL It is directed to Biggie and anyone who thinks like that. It's not a dis, it's merely asking, "If you have so many riches, why would you claim to be stressed and want to die?"

S You've always dissed the record industry (and deservedly so), but the irony is that the industry makes it possible for you to do this rap thing as a living. Does this tear at you?

DELASOUL No, it doesn't tear at us. --Pos

Sleepy Any collaborations in the future?

DELASOUL I am rhyming on a Bjork record. --Pos

MistaCee How do you feel about artists who are lyrically gifted but caught up in the "mafioso" trend, like Nas?

DELASOUL They are probably broke and trying to move with the times. Nas had to do what he had to do, he cant be De La. --Mase

Sleepy How long do you see yourself being involved in big-label hiphop?

DELASOUL Not much longer. --Pos

MistaCee How'd you get hooked up with Maury Povich for the "Stakes Is High" video?

DELASOUL He was a big De La fan.

Sleepy Any thoughts about setting up your own label, management company, production company, etc.?

DELASOUL Definitely, we are just trying to make this album really happen first.

Sleepy I think you guys could really be a positive force to help guide the upcoming MCs into the ugly major-label waters.

DELASOUL We've tried to do that in the past, but everybody feels like their way is the way.

Sonic-mod What do you think of Wu-Tang?

DELASOUL I love Wu Tang. I still don't agree with every mentality that they present. We might work with Wu Tang in the future.

Verbal How do you describe the transition in your style? In my opinion you went from a trademark fun, feel-good style (a la "Eye Know," "Me Myself and I," "The Magic Number") with wit and depth (a la "Ghetto Thang") to a less fun, more forward and obvious style. What do you think?

DELASOUL A child does not stay naive when he begins to run.

Nool Mace, no offense intended, but I don't see you influencing the group as much as you did in the past. Where do you fit into the group nowadays?

DELASOUL I play a big part in this crew because we are family. The studio part is something you will never know because you are not there. Unfortunately my tracks didn't make the album because they didn't fit the mood, and I am a big enough man to accept that and concentrate on what is good for De La. --Mase