De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead (1991)

Label: Tommy Boy/Warner Bros.

Roc Marciano: “That’s like a hip-hop science project album. It gives you everything you could want in an album, and more. It’s ridiculous. I love that album. To me, that’s De La Soul at their finest. Prince Paul on the boards, experimental as you could ask for from a hip-hop album.

“These dudes are from the Island, so there’s pride. They’re from Amityville, that’s Suffolk County, and I’m from Nassau County. It doesn’t matter though, it’s still the Island. Dudes were just proud of De La Soul, just to see how they did it major. When they came out, their was no denying that they were one of the biggest things going in music, period.

“But coming from the Island, that was nothing new. All of the artists that came from there were breakthrough artists. De La Soul, Public Enemy, EPMD, Rakim. The Island had a lot of success as far as the hip-hop game. It wasn’t shocking that they were doing it, but it was that they were making groundbreaking music.

“I always loved ‘Hey Love,’ and if you know that record, they didn’t rhyme over it. They just had singing on the hook, and they did commentary, with a dude talking to a chick, and she’s trying to get into a relationship with him on some Teena Marie ‘Square Biz’ shit. And he’s just trying to let her know that he’s trying to fuck. So they never rapped on it.

“So being that they never rapped on it, I treated it like it was a record I caught in the crates, like a loop. Like, ‘Wow, they never rapped on this?’ I treated it like it was something I found from B.B. King or something, like, ‘Let me loop this up and rap over it.’ Plus, I got a connection to the album anyway, so [it made perfect sense]. It was fun. People don’t hear me on fun music much like that. But I got a lot of sides. They’re gonna hear me on more fun stuff.”