Celebrating De La Soul, With Questlove

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It’s been a triumphant but tragic year already for De La Soul, one of the most formative and innovative groups in rap history. Its music, long absent from streaming services owing to sample clearance issues, has finally become available. But just weeks before its long-delayed arrival in the digital ecosystem, Dave Jolicoeur a.k.a. Trugoy, one of the group’s two rappers, died at age 54.

The many twists and turns of De La Soul’s career did not prevent the trio from having a vast impact. For a young Questlove, then growing up in West Philadelphia, the group was also a lifeline and a shield, an example of a way of being in hip-hop that hadn’t previously been visible. Its success helped him shape what would become the Roots.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about how De La Soul reoriented hip-hop in the wake of its arrival, and the group’s many inheritors, explicit or implicit, that came in the decades that followed its crucial work.


Questlove, drummer of the Roots and the director of “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”

Joseph Patel, former music journalist and a producer of “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”

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