Album: De La Soul Is Dead

Label: Tommy Boy

Prince Paul: “At first, I didn’t want to do the second album. But when it was time to do the second album, the guys from De La came up to me and said, ‘Yo, we’re going to work on the second album.’ I replied, ‘Word. Good luck!’ But they were like, ‘Yo, we want you to be down. You’re part of the team.’

“It was one of those moments that I felt sentimental. Like, ‘Oh, man—You really think so?’ [Laughs.] But I didn’t want to have the entire control. I said, ‘I’ll teach you guys how to run certain equipment, but you guys should go ahead and do it on your own.’

“If I remember correctly, a lot of the records started off with me and Pos having a conversation. It usually goes: ‘Yo, I got this idea.’ ‘Yeah, what is it?’ ‘Yo, I want to, uh, write this song about, uh, roller skating, and uh, I want to use, uh, the Chicago record ‘Saturdays.’

 

There was a bunch of hidden jokes in that record that I can’t say. [Laughs.] A lot of them were directly poking fun at certain artists. I just can’t say. It doesn’t matter if it was 20 years ago, man. People are sensitive. [Laughs.] I’ll let Pos answer those questions.

 

“He had like a rough sketch of what he wanted to do. And the next thing you know, we got Russell Simmons to come in and do the intro. It’s amazing when you’re really riding high, what people would do for you. It was no problem getting Russell Simmons in the studio. He was like, ‘What? I’m going to be on a De La record?’ And he does the introduction, which was funny.

“The first album was strictly family, and people who were just down for the cause. Then the caliber of the people changed when we did the second album. Q-Tip came in—who he was part of the original crew anyway—he did his rhyme. It was crazy.

“I remember the other loops that we used when Dave rhymed. We had to figure out how to bring it in. And I was just like, ‘Yo, let’s bring it in on Dave’s part.’ We had like piano riffs and stuff. So it was cool. Even though the album as a whole had a darker tone, this record was a cheerful record, and the creation process was still a lot of fun.

“There was a bunch of hidden jokes in that record that I can’t say. [Laughs.] A lot of them were directly poking fun at certain artists. I just can’t say. It doesn’t matter if it was 20 years ago, man. People are sensitive. [Laughs.] I’ll let Pos answer those questions.”