AllHipHop.com: The Grind Date has been already received as one of the better albums in your catalog. You’ve never made a poorly received album, but why do you think the album came together so well?
Dave: It comes in several ways for us, man. We don’t really stick to one way of recording songs. Sometimes you’ll hear a beat and you’ll be inspired to write rhymes, and hopefully those rhymes can fall under some theme or title. Sometimes you’ll get an idea ‘cause of something you’ve seen, witnessed, or experienced, or what have you. Like I want to write a song about how you know how girls be getting guys top trick, and at the end of the day when you don’t get anything out of it, leaving guys sexless if you want to say. So it’s like what can we call it. We can call it ‘Shopping Bags’. Like wow I heard some music that will match. So it can come in any way. The approach to us is, just let it happen, oppose to trying to do it. You can’t think of a title and say you know how’s the title going to work and how can you make it creative and then you can find a beat to match that mood and then you start writing rhymes. We allow the approach come whichever way it comes.
AllHipHop.com: Buhloone Mindstate is an amazing album. Ten years later, how do you feel about it now? Why do you think it’s so slept on?
Dave: Ummm, me personally, I hated Buhloone Mindstate. That was one album I did not like.
AllHipHop.com: Why Not? Can you go into this a little further?
Dave: I didn’t like the album because I think we were just a little too creative. And to me, you should never use the phrase ‘too creative’. But I think we took it a little too far. You know I think there was a big influence on us at the time from groups we were hanging out with. Like Tribe and so many others on the Jazz tip. I just felt it went a little to the left or who we were as people and what we were accustomed to at the time. Like some of the songs personally didn’t want to do. ‘Patty Duke’ [and] ‘Area Codes’ I didn’t want to do.
AllHipHop.com: How about ‘Break A Dawn’?
Dave: ‘Break A Dawn’ I hated as well. I didn’t want that to be the first single. That’s just me personally. Mase and Pos may be feel differently, but to me that was an album I didn’t personally enjoy recording. I can’t even say so much the music, I just didn’t enjoy recording at the time. But from what I hear, you know a lot of De La fans feel that is their favorite album. That’s the album feel most comfortable with, so I’m happy to feel to and to know even during the time of disliking or not even feeling comfortable of what I was doing, I still put my best work into it, so it’s cool.
AllHipHop.com: Now that you basically trashed Buhloone Mindstate, what’s your favorite album out of the De La Soul catalog?
Dave: My favorite album would probably be Stakes Is High. I think [it] was just giving a rebirth to ourselves and doing it on our own. The message we put out on that album was important. We were obviously were in the game to establish ourselves and make great career out of it. Money is definitely important, but we come from another school – where Hip-Hop is important. I think that message was heard and respected and even lead to some people getting heated or just heeding to some of the messages we were bringing on that. That felt good too. And also the production end of it, I think that record was Hip-Hop man. I think you heard great beats, great rhymes, and also great artists like the Common’s, people who basically featured on that record. It just felt good all the way around. It felt that was the best album to me.
AllHipHop.com: You guys took an aggressive approach on getting that message heard on that album. Did you catch any backlash from anyone of your peers?
Dave: Yeah there were some people who maybe took offense to some things. Like you know Treach thought Pos was dissing him on the intro, even Kane to an extent came to me one day saying you know, ‘Were you dissing me on such and such song?’ And I’m like first off those were Pos rhymes, so you know maybe you should even realize who’s saying what they were saying what they were saying what they are saying, know that first. Secondly it was no disrespect, we wasn’t trying to diss anybody. We were trying to make a point we were trying to make a point to say a lot about Hip-Hop, no one in particular. I don’t think there was too much of a backlash. I think House Of Pain thought we were dissing them. I think one time we were in Atlanta for the Gavin music conference and we performed ‘The Bizness’ and ‘Stakes Is High’ and a lot of artists that approached us on some you know what you guys are right. We don’t attack people personally – we attack the game.
AllHipHop.com: What’s your relationship with Prince Paul now of days?
Dave: We are cool with Paul. Paul will always be family with us. We’ve done so much work on his projects from the Psychoanalysis to the Handsome Boy Modeling School. We’re family. He was in some of our studio sessions for The Grind Date and he was in the studio with us for the albums that came before that, like Stakes Is High and AOI, so it’s love. He’s been a person who’s been in our career ever since day one, so he taught us a lot. We’re in debt to him forever. He’s a big part of why the reason why De La Soul exist. We are actually recording AOI 3 in the near future and Prince Paul will be a co-producer on that album. He’s going to come in and work with us on that album.
AllHipHop.com: You guys are noted producers in your right. What makes guys go outside of your circle for production?
Dave: We’ve always like to be apart of the producing end of things but I think like just gets a little more heavy. There was a time we were young cats and we could sit down in the studio for 15-16 hours a day, 2-3 days in a row, and feel the freedom to create and produce. We’re away so much on the road, that the time at home just has to come to a standstill from being in the studio, recording, and producing. So luckily we have great producers like Dave West, 9th Wonder, Madlib, Jake-One, and J-Dilla, who are on the same vibe and production ideals that De La is on. And when they can supply us with great beats, we feel comfortable with taking the backseat and not going into the studio and not trying it on our own. We would love to do it in the near future. But, when you have great artist pumping great music why deny yourself of it?
AllHipHop.com: Your music pioneered innovative sampling. Do approach sampling the same way you would while you were making 3 Feet High & Rising?
Dave: We go about it the same way. You don’t limit yourself at all, we are not afraid of, ‘Oh they might sue you’, let’s just do it because it sounds good. We’ll just work out the rules and details later. It doesn’t always have to be sampling Soul records or from a certain record label or a certain artist. If it’s a Johnny Cash record sitting there, or a Dire Straits record or a Marvin Gaye Record. We’re going to take from all of them, and see what works and see what sounds good. It’s the same approach. It will never change. Sampling is important to us, it’s a big part of what we do and we will never deny ourselves of it.
AllHipHop.com: What have you been listening to lately?
AllHipHop.com: Kanye West?
Dave: (Laughs) I haven’t been listening to too much man, I found that there’s some artist that don’t do it for me. Expecting some great things from new releases didn’t work out for me man. I haven’t been listening to anything new. The last thing I was listening to was the new Best Of Both Worlds joint. It didn’t really turn me on though. The last thing that I listened to that I probably enjoyed was some of the Theodore Unit stuff.
AllHipHop.com: What did you think of The Pretty Toney?
Dave: I didn’t like Ghost’s last album. I expected a lot more there. A lot of joints on there I did like, but overall as an album – and maybe it’s unfair to not respect it as its own entity, maybe I was trying to find the feeling and the joints I heard on Bulletproof Wallets and Supreme Clientele. I just didn’t hear the same thing. Right now Ghost and MF Doom are the artists I enjoy listening to. These are the only dudes who I feel like who are really going out there and doing Hip-Hop, challenging their art and doing it well. Everybody else to me is trash. I don’t even listen to nobody else.
AllHipHop.com: What about outside of Hip-Hop?
Dave: Outside of Hip-Hop, I would like to listen to that new Jill Scott record. I listen to everything. I enjoy people like Coldplay, India Arie, R. Kelly. I think R. Kelly’s record is great. I don’t deny music I think if it sounds good, whatever genre it is, whether R&B, Hip-Hop, Classic Soul. Even what Latifah just did on her new album. To me if it sounds good, it’s good.