Paul von Hagen
De La Soul
De La Soul was officially formed in 1987 in Long Island, New York while each of the members was attending Amityville High School. The trio consists of Posdnuos, Trugoy the Dove, and Pasemaster Mase. Posdnuos, born Kelvin Mercer, August 17, 1969, derived his pseudonym from an inversion of his previous MC name, Soundsop. Trugoy the Dove was born David Jude Jolicoeur, September 21, 1968. His nickname comes from an inversion of his favorite food, yogurt. Pasemaster Mase was born Vincent Mason, March 27, 1970. Each of the young men had grown up listening heavily to jazz, but only Mercer actually had a background in music. Prior to the forming of De La, Mercer had taken up being a DJ.
De La Soul’s first demo, “Plug Tunin’”, quickly caught the attention of then renowned producer Paul Huston, AKA Prince Paul. Huston played the demo to many of his colleagues and was able to get the trio a record deal with Tommy Boy Records. With Prince Paul as their producer, De La Soul recorded their first album “3 Feet High and Rising” during 1989 at Calliope Studios in New York City. The album, released in the spring of 1989, nearly instantly became a smash hit and a monumental piece in the history of hip hop. While the album was mostly a success, critics took no time in labeling the group as “hippies”. The record mostly preached peace and love, two foundations that were quickly fading from the genre by the late 80s. This led to De La Soul’s genre being characterized as “alternative rap”. Soon after the release of their debut album De La Soul quickly were perceived as the leaders of an elite group of New York-based alternative rappers which also included monumental greats such as A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, the Jungle Brothers, and Monie Love. Collectively these New York “alternative rappers” dubbed themselves the Native Tongues Posse.
With all of the acclaim over 3 Feet High and Rising also came some negative attention in...