De La Soul Hints at Independent Release

Jolicoeur, Mason Tell Ad Age 'We Can Do It on Our Own'

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De La Soul

De La Soul hints that their next LP might be independently released.

I recently got a chance to sit down with the very friendly guys in De La Soul to discuss their new Nike+ album, and, if you're interested in why the hip-hop pioneers worked with the shoe brand or how Nike persuaded them to not make a Jane Fonda-style workout soundtrack, check it out over at Madison & Vine.

But there were a few exchanges that remained on the cutting-room floor, and I thought I'd share the most interesting here, wherein I ask about the group's plans for releasing their next record. After putting out their last traditional full-length, "The Grind Date," with Universal's Sanctuary imprint in 2004, the guys suggested their next album could be fully independent, perhaps even a digital-only release.

M&V: Do you guys know anything about the next proper LP?

David Jude Jolicoeur: I don't know. We're just floating right now. We've worked on some tunes, and for us, especially now that we're doing our thing totally independently ...

M&V: So no label?

Mr. Jolicoeur: No label, no anything, just free agents.

Vincent Mason: [Interjects] No way, no way man. No way.

Mr. Jolicoeur: When it happens, it happens. It's been 20 years doing this thing, so we know the ins and outs ourselves. Saved ourselves the headache. And not just the headache, I don't want to make it sound like it's a bad thing, taking it in your own hands and going wherever you wanna go and picking the destination as well. It's kind of a cool vibe, and so when we're ready to get in that vibe and go there, we will. Right now, we have some interesting things going on, and we just wanna tackle each thing one at a time.

Mr. Mason: And to be honest, the digital world is what it is. It's not the future, it's the now, more than anything. So it's more or less weighing out those options about what to do with the digital world. Not to say we wouldn't partner up with a label again, but it would have to be really different this time, you know, based on the obvious about what the digital world presents.

At the end of the day, you can never negate doing business, if it's good business. I can't say, I know I gave a nasty connotation of not wanting to work with any labels, but based on what we've experienced in the past, it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth when you open your eyes up to what the business really is and what's in front of you as well. What has come, which is the whole digital display. It's obvious we can do it on our own. It's a lot more work and effort that you have to put into it. And if we decide to do it with someone else, they have to come to us correct, it's as simple as that.

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