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Tag: De La Soul (1-3 of 3)

SXSW: Damon Albarn brings out Snoop and De La Soul, puts on mini Gorillaz reunion

How big is Damon Albarn in America? It’s a question that comes up unusually often at the EW offices, partly because we suspect that the answer will disappoint us.

Obviously people know of the man’s work, but mostly in a backwards sort of way. In terms of Stateside popularity, his multiplatinum animated rap group Gorillaz far eclipses Blur, the legendary Britpop act he fronted for more than a decade — though even they have a mainstream foothold thanks to their alt-radio hit “Girls and Boys” and the woo-hoo¬†anthem “Song 2.”

But Albarn himself never really became a household name in the U.S. It doesn’t help that his strongest work — those early Blur records, considered classics across the pond — was very deeply and decidedly¬†British, literally by design. But now that he’s got his debut solo album (out in April) to promote, it’s natural to wonder whether his name alone can lure a large American audience.

According to his SXSW set at the Fader Fort on Friday, he can — with a little help from his friends. The annual event’s east-of-center venue was packed for Albarn’s performance, but since the bill promised he’d have “special guests” with him, fans were able to deduce that they’d get to see either Blur or Gorillaz play live. They got the latter: Del the Funkee Homosapien, De La Soul, Dan the Automator, and Snoop Dogg each had a chance to hop on stage and bring the cartoon group’s trippy songs to life.

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De la Soul offers fans free downloads of their classic catalog -- which still isn't on Spotify or iTunes -- for Valentines Day

Who loves you, baby? De la Soul is apparently feeling heartful today — and free is the magic number.

The classic rap icons are offering up their full catalog on their site for 25 hours, including Native Tongues classics 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead and Stakes Is High, with the message “Keep the Love Spinning”; click here to access.

Why now? Aside from the impending 25th anniversary of 3 Feet High, member Posdnous told Rolling Stone, “It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”

It’s the trio’s much-touted use of samples that has kept their entire catalog off of mainstream digital platforms: “It’s been a trying journey,” Posdnuos says. “We’ve been blessed to be in the Library of Congress, but we can’t even have our music on iTunes. We’ve been working very hard to get that solved.”

Stakes is short(ish): the stream began Friday, February 14th at 11 a.m. EST and will go until Saturday at noon.

De La Soul's Posdnuos on their Nike mix, their next album, and working again with Gorillaz

Delasoul_lTwo decades after upending rap’s status quo with their debut 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul recently took a stab at an unfamiliar genre: music to run to. Are You In?, a 10-track mix of brand-new material commissioned by Nike, went on sale last month, following in the, er, footsteps of mixes by artists like LCD Soundsystem. "We’re not the biggest of runners," the trio’s Posdnuos (pictured at right) confesses to the Music Mix. "But all of us in the group have equipment in the house and occasionally get on the elliptical or go outside…I love listening to It Takes a Nation of Millions [To Hold Us Back] from Public Enemy when I’m out running. Hearing Flavor [Flav] wildin’ out and Chuck [D] in my head just pushes me to go further and further."

Keeping that level of energy in mind, De La crafted a tight set of pulse-racing jams with help from Chicago-based DJs Flosstradamus. As far as they’re concerned, Are You In? is as much a full-fledged De La album as any other. "We’ve always had themes for our albums, from 3 Feet High and Rising on up," says Pos. "So knowing that the theme of this record was making sure you inspire running was just another way of us having an entire album where we had to connect everything."

Give Are You In? standout "Big Mouf" a free listen below, then click through to the jump for more news on De La Soul’s upcoming projects — including their work on the next Gorillaz album.

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