De La Soul Release Their New Album & A Documentary About Its Making For Full Stream
The power of FREEDOM. For the first time in their nearly 30-year careers, De La Soul have complete control over their art, and they’ve chosen to share their entire new album, and the Anonymous Nobody, along with a film about its making, with the fans.
The story of how the album came to be has been well documented. After seeing their entire catalog, save for one album, withheld from digital distribution due to legal red tape, De La decided to do things differently for their latest offering. Their plan was to hire musicians, record them playing and then sample those recordings to create new music. After some trepidation, they launched a crowd funding campaign to raise $110,000 to complete the endeavor. To their great surprise, in 33 days, they ended up raising over $600,000. The amount would give them complete autonomy in the making of their new album, but, as they would learn, with great freedom comes great responsibility.
Their new film, “We’re Still Here (now)… a documentary about nobody,” shows the pleasure and pain of the 18-month journey De La Soul has had in making and the Anonymous Nobody. It begins literally from day 1 of the process, as the group can be heard in a phone call with veteran media journalist Harry Allen, on February 5, 2015, explaining why they are turning to fans to help fund the project. “We, conceptually, with the album, [are] trying to avoid the whole sampling and dealing with sample lawyers and the clearances, what have you,” says Dave. “We’ve invited a host of musicians to jam and their jam sessions go on like maybe over 200 hours. We recorded this thing for like years. What we’re doing now is going back and farming that recording to sample from and then create new music.”
From there, the film details every step of the process up until the present. The group is shown in the studio recording and conducting interviews about their progress. Elements detailed in the crowdfunding campaign, such as private listening sessions and sneaker shopping with donors, are shown. The De La Soul braintrust is seen strategizing about what guests might fit the album’s aesthetic and how to go about securing their participation. And, there is voluminous of the group on the road, touring, and the relentless grind that it entails. Beautifully shot, the documentary provides an intimate and deeply humanizing look at one of Hip-Hop’s most iconic groups.
Every step in the process of creating and the Anonymous Nobody has been forward looking, and that has been the case with De La Soul from the very beginning of their careers. Perhaps the thing that sums up the film, the album and the group, themselves, best is the poem that opens the documentary. Against a black slate, white lettering reads “cause it’s us. you know it’s us. we were never the men to be trapped in the lane inside all your memories. we swerve through and watch you in the rearview stuck to your past. while on we continue.”