At the beginning of this year, we got some truly great news: De La Soul’s catalog, which includes some of the greatest rap records in history, was finally coming to streaming services, getting past all the sample-clearance issues and money disputes that had long plagued the group. A few weeks later, something terrible happened. De La Soul’s Dave Jolicoeur, otherwise known as Trugoy The Dove, died at the age of 54. When those De La Soul albums arrived on streaming services a couple of weeks, ago the celebrations were a little bittersweet. Last night, the two surviving De La Soul members were on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show to talk and to perform.
It just so happens that Jimmy Fallon’s house band is the Roots, one of the many great alternative rap acts to form in the immediate wake of De La Soul’s breakthrough. I think Questlove should’ve taken over Jimmy Fallon’s desk for the De La Soul interview, but Fallon, to his credit, didn’t yuk his way through the interview. Talking to Fallon, Posdnous and Maseo talked about the formation of the group and about making their first album and playing their first show.
After the interview, Posdnous and Maseo performed “Stakes Is High,” the title track from their great 1996 album, with the Roots backing them up and with Black Thought handling Trugoy’s parts. They made it sound epic. At the end of the track, Pos rapped the final verse in isolation, a spotlight on him, while the music dropped away and the soundman cranked the echo on his voice. This was a truly cool celebration of a group that deserves their moment. Watch the performance and the interview below.
Stakes Is High is streaming now, and so is every other De La Soul album.