By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With an over 25 year career that includes the groundbreaking debut album, Three Feet High And Rising, the release of six subsequent studio albums, tours throughout the world and a 2006 Grammy Award for a collaboration with the group Gorlliaz, the legendary hip hop trio De La Soul returns to Rio de Janeiro for the first time in nine years on Sunday, July 27th to play at Lapa’s Circo Voador.

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Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos), David Jude Jolicoeur (Trugoy the Dove) and Vincent Lamont Mason Jr. ( Pasemaster Mase) of De La Soul, photo internet recreation.

“I like the fact that De La Soul is still on the road with the three founding members. I was at the first show they played here in Rio, at the TIM Festival,” Joca Vidal, Rio DJ and press agent who plans to attend Sunday night’s show, told The Rio Times. “I was impressed with the energy of the trio. To see the show at Circo Voador will be special.”

The band returns to city thanks to the help of Queremos, a Rio crowdfunded kickstarter, that connects musicians, fans and venues. Making the night extra special at Circo Voador, the popular events known as Wobble and DOOM will hold a special editions of those parties on Sunday night with guests DJs Tucho and Saddam.

Headliners of the night, De La Soul originated in Long Island, New York (U.S.) in 1987. It was then that three roommates; Posdnuos (Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy The Dove (David Jude Jolicoeur) and Pasemaster Mase (Vincent Mason), fresh out of high school, joined up and combined their love of hip hop and rap.

Although fans of popular acts of the time like Public Enemy and N.W.A., the three decided instead of crafting rhymes that were self-aggrandizing or along the lines of battle rap, that they would instead write what they knew and their own lives.

“Everybody was just battling and boast rapping,” Trugoy The Dovetold XXL Magazine when discussing the origins of De La Soul’s sound during a recent interview in March, adding, “And for us, we loved that, but we aren’t battling anybody. We don’t have any beef. We don’t have any adversaries out there or anything like that.”

“Let’s talk about what we do,” he continued, “We have fun. We kid around. We joke. We’re clowns and we are kids. Why even try to play tough guys or play man or whatever the case may be. We’re kids out of high school having a good time, so it was what it was.”

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De La Soul performing live in Germany 2012, photo by Der Robert/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Their combined personalities shown through as they began to produce a blend of humorous lyrics laid over eclectic samples that fused the genres of hip hop, jazz, reggae, pop and rap.

In 1989, they released their debut alum, Three Feet High and Rising. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the album which includes the songs “The Magic Number,” “My, Myself & I” and “Potholes In My Lawn,” among others, proved to be one of the most influential albums in hip hop to date.

Together with bands and performers including A Tribe Called, the Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah and Monie Love, De La Soul were part of a collective known as Native Tongues. The artists wrote positive, conscientious and even spiritual lyrics, and used more eclectic samples, including jazz riffs, in their tracks, choices that a marked a change in the creation of hip hop music during the late 80s and early 90s.

De La Soul would go on to release six more studio albums following Three Feet High and Rising, none of which earned the same amount of success or critical acclaim, but all followed the same ethic and helped to pioneer and continue the conscious hip hop sub-genre. In 2006, De La Soul earned a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration for their work on the single “Feel Good Inc.” with the Gorillaz, a British group created by Damon Albarn, frontman of the band Blur.

Currently touring worldwide, other upcoming projects for De La Soul include; an EP produced by DJ Premier & Pete Rock entitled, Premiem Soul On The Rocks and an upcoming LP release entitled, You’re Welcome. “De La Soul, for me,” Vidal concluded, “is the best active hip hop group. I think the guys will rock the house.”

Who: De La Soul
When: Sunday, July 27th. Gates Open at 8PM
Where: Circo Voador – Rua dos Arcos, S/N, Lapa, Centro
Entrance: R$80 – R$160, available online here and at the Circo Voador box office.


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