Was Native Tongues An Official Collective? De La Soul Weighs In (Video)
For many Heads, the motley crew known as the Native Tongues embodied the qualities of Hip-Hop’s heyday best. With its emphasis on lyricism, afrocentrism, love, unity, and respect, the collective was an easily identifiable presence in the late ’80s and early ’90s despite never forming a cohesive “group” as we tend to envision one. Nevertheless, representatives like the Jungle Brothers, Black Sheep, A Tribe Called Quest, Monie Love, and Queen Latifah extended the Native Tongues influence far and wide.
Perhaps its most visible segment was De La Soul, who in 1989 released “Buddy,” a posse cut that became the musical face of the Tongues. In a recent interview with VladTV, the group went into some of the history behind the song and shared their opinions on the Native Tongues’ place in history and their perspective might surprise you. “It’s kinda funny how people create this big thing about Native Tongues,” said Dave (f/k/a Trugoy) “When in reality, it really only stems off of one record—nothin’ more than that.” He added that it is a “true friendship,” but downplayed the musical fruits of the collective union.
Posdnous spoke about his opening verse on 1993’s “I Am, I Be,” which questioned the Native Tongues union. Admitting that he writes in the moment, the Long Island, New York MC claimed, “I can honestly say I regret writing it.” He added that the lyrics complicated his relationship with Q-Tip, although they are cool today. “It was only one instance where I felt like that and wrote it, and it’s forever…it’s etched in time.”
De La Soul weighs in on some of the unofficial Native Tongues collaborations, and the meetings from the era, when the collective was offered merchandising and touring.
Check out the conversation: