Before you arrived in Dubai last year, you told us: ‘We’re coming here to soak in the good times and music, and receive new inspiration to add to our music.’ Did this happen?
We didn’t hear any rap music actually from Dubai, but it was good speaking to a few different Muslim brothers who knew who we were and found our music positive. It was amazing to watch all the construction that’s going on there, along with the very old sites like the souks.
Do you think the US hip-hop scene was credit-crunched this year? Has the recession made the industry go a little less ‘bling’?
When hip-hop first started, a lot of the rhymes from rappers were about partying as well as material possessions, which most of them probably didn’t have. So, credit crunch or not, if that’s what the artist is into, that’s what they will talk about. Of course, some will voice the problems of the world as well.
What else have you got planned for the rest of 2009 and into 2010? Any collaborations or releases coming up?
We’ll be finishing up our 20th anniversary tour for 3 Feet High and Rising in Europe with our 12-piece band, Rhythm Roots All Stars. We’ll also be starting and finishing more material and finally getting new albums out (a full De La album as well as the third part to the Art Official Intelligence series). Trugoy and myself will be putting some guest vocals on a few outside projects. Maseo’s artist Billy Ray, who appeared on the song ‘Greedy Man’ on the Nike album [Are You In?], should be out by 2010. The De La Soul dolls from Kidrobot will be available in 2010 too.
The name ‘De La Soul’ borrows a little from the French language. Do you slip any other French sayings into your everyday conversations? À la mode, bien sûr, très bien, erm… à la carte…?
Nah, but we don’t mind French kissing our women.
Who do you think would win in a wrestling match: you or Jungle Brothers?
We wouldn’t wrestle; we’d play Xbox instead.
How about you versus The Black Eyed Peas?
We would body slam all of them and force Fergie to make two records with us, and Will.i.am would have to do the beats.
Can jeans ever be too baggy?
Yes, they can!
Dubai Fashion Week has just finished. What’s your latest fashion accessory?
My new Mickey Mouse watch.
Which other Dubai SoundCIty acts are you excited to see?
Human League for sure, and we couldn’t miss Happy Mondays.
De La Soul play Dubai SoundCity at the Irish Village, November 6.