De La Soul Bring Their Classic Back From The Dead, With An Unreleased Song
Twenty five years ago, De La Soul Is Dead released. The sophomore album from the Long Island, New York trio of Posdnuos, Trugoy (n/k/a Dave), and Maseo would be a distinct mood-shift from 1989’s 3 Feet High And Rising. However, thanks to its frontier sound, imagery, and creativity—which can also be deeply credited to producer Prince Paul, the Da.I.S.Y. movement plugged on, with just as much acclaim.
In those 25 years since its Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records release, De La Soul Is Dead was certified gold. The album, featuring Q-Tip and The Jungle Brothers, would also receive the coveted “5 mic” rating from The Source magazine at a critical time for Hip-Hop culture and the publication. The 1991 album has since been remastered and re-released on CD and vinyl.
Today (May 13), in celebration of the milestone anniversary, De La Soul has created memorials at two sites critical to the construction and success of De La Soul Is Dead. At Calliope Studios in Midtown Manhattan (8th Avenue & 37th Street), there are vigils, playing on the album’s title. Similarly, at the former Downtown location (289 Elizabeth Street) of Russell Simmons’ Rush Management offices, another memorial is taking place. Artifacts from the album and its artwork have been placed at these sites by organizers and fans. Online “mourners” may sign an official guest-book. Group-distributed photographs from the sites are below.
Creating a micro-site, DeLaSoulIsDead.com, the trio also shared a shelved song from the album’s sessions. “Sho Nuff,” produced by Posdnuos, did not make the album. However, the raw recording (available for free download) shows the dynamic drum samples, the Jazz influence, and the airtight routines between Plug 1 and Plug 2. This is just one example of the group’s burgeoning in-house production. As Maseo took a greater role in De La Soul Is Dead, the group would eventually evolve to self-produce the bulk of their material in the late 1990s and 2000s.
Presently, De La Soul is putting its finishing touches on eighth studio album, And The Anonymous Nobody. Planned for August 26 release (available for pre-order this month), the crowd-funded LP is said to include contributions from 2 Chainz, Snoop Dogg, Pete Rock, and Talking Heads co-founder David Byrne. It will be the trio’s first studio album since 2004. Last month (April 29), the trio released a free EP, For Your Pain And Suffering.
Photographs from today’s memorial: