Today marks the 25th Anniversary of De La Soul’s sophomore album, De La Soul Is Dead, released in 1991. After being pigeonholed as peace loving “hippie” types with their stellar debut 3 FT High and Rising, the trio of Plug 1, Dave and DJ Maseo traded in the flower power for an even more critical tone that ran the gamut from wholesome fun (“A Rollerskating Jam Called Saturdays”) to the foul, (“Millie Pulled a Pistol On Santa”).
Memorials have been placed at the group’s old Rush Management office at 298 Elizabeth Street, NYC where they created the concept, and at Colliope Recording Studio, 37th & 8th Avenue, NYC where the album was recorded. You can even sign a guest book here.
The group also shared an unreleased track from those “Dead” recording sessions called “Sho Nuff,” which you can stream below:
“When it came to the second record, there’s a certain level of confidence that [was] there. You’ve traveled the world and you’ve seen different demographics,” Vincent “DJ Maseo” Mason tells WatchLOUD.com about their mindset going into recording the album. “You’re trying to now see how you can make a record for Houston or for England. You’re starting to tap into the different experiences you had. A big part of De La Soul Is Dead was about being on the LL Cool J tour. The Nitro tour. Being with all our comrades and all that and people we look up to.”
“‘Bitties In The BK Lounge’” is a true story. That happened on that tour. Big Daddy Kane loves telling that story. It started with me pretty much just being an a$$hole at the time messing with the chick [in Burger King] and she threw soda all over me, dawg. And I couldn’t get mad because I knew I was messing with her. We were all in Burger King just actin’ up. Being a jackass. And she threw mad soda on me, so that’s what inspired the song.”
Maseo says that the even more confrontational fight club anthem “Peas Porridge” was directly inspired by scraps that happened during that tour.
“The chubby one Plug 3 walked up to this kid and hit him real quick, think he didn’t when he did, then them other ones the violators were throwing chairs and they ain’t care who they was hittin…“
“We were fighting a lot on that tour. And not only us. We all was fighting. This was an era in hip-hop when we really had each others back. So when we was on tour together Kane had our back, I stood in the square with Scoob and Scrap and we fought a bunch of n*ggas. There was a time in Detroit some n*ggas got in my face and LL ’s crew was there for me. There was another time in New Orleans when the DJ and the security was jealous because we had the club on lock. And it got really crazy when LL came thru and sh*t jumped off and we tore that sh*t up. And De La’s name would come up so much because we not supposed to be that. Not only that, but if I’m in an altercation it’s expected that I’m supposed to get my ass whooped. So it’s more enflamed when I don’t get my ass whooped.”
The celebration of DLSID continues what promises to be a huge 2016 for De La Soul. Their career-altering fourth album Stakes Is High turns 20 in July and they finally release And The Anonymous Nobody, their first studio album since 2004’s The Grind Date, in August.