Hip Hop legends De La Soul have stood the test of time simply because they’re different and aren’t afraid to be themselves.

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In an interview with Sway in the Morning, the trio took a look back at their musical contributions, discussed how having Hip Hop as a unified front helped brand them and revealed N.W.A. had the biggest impact on them.

“We immediately saw from the beginning, as [Maseo] was saying, that we fit into so many different worlds. Like he said, we started on a major tour, like The Nitro Tour, with LL [Cool J], N.W.A., [Big Daddy] Kane, and all them.”


De La Soul also discussed how the Native Tongues movement began, how their universal appeal alienated them from being on stage with their Hip Hop contemporaries in the 80s and why De La Soul may have been pioneers of what it is now called “branding” within Hip-Hop.

“We was considered sellin’ out,” Dave said. “It was difficult, ’cause we just felt we was just like everybody else. It was kind of hard falling to those alternative slots and not being on a bill for a show with your peers—other Rap artists. [We were] performing with Wendy & Lisa, Bob Dylan, Sinhead O’Connor—we was doin’ [shows] like that. We went from there to the Fine Young Cannibals’ tour. We saw then that we had music that lent itself to everyone. So that’s what made us realize that we can go all over the world with it. It was easy.”

Their upcoming album, And The Anonymous Nobody, is scheduled for an August 26 release.