I’m really excited to say that the 24th installment of I Used to Love H.E.R., a series in which artists/bloggers/writers discuss their most essential or favorite hip-hop albums (read intro), comes from acclaimed DJ/producer RJD2, the man behind three solo records and one-half of Soul Position.
RJ, who returns to the Clubhouse in Tempe on April 7 (tickets), answered my questions via e-mail (note: I’ve left non-capitalization as-is). He is the third artist (The Weather Underground and Pigeon John are the others) to choose De La Soul Is Dead.
De La Soul
De La Soul Is Dead (Tommy Boy, 1991)
When did you first listen to it?
“maybe 1992 or 3?”
In what ways did it influence you?
“it was psychedelic, crammed with sounds, cool topics, it was slow, fast â€“ just all over the place. it kind of was my conceptual template for a while, as far as what an album should traverse.”
Do you still listen to it?
“not really. once i’ve digested a record as much as something like that â€“ 100’s of listens â€“ i dont go back to em too often, unless for nostalgia’s sake. generally speaking, i just move on and let it be what it was to me at that time. records can sound very different at different times. there are a lot of movies i only watch once because they were so mindblowing the first time, and i dont want to soil the experience that it was.”
What about the record makes it stand up to other great hip-hop records?
“really what i said above, but i think most of all, there’s just a consistent level of passion on it, from the production to the writing to the execution. i guess the bottom line is that the execution of it is just so well done. the more i listen to music, and do it, the more i think that stylistic leanings aren’t what make a record interesting, it’s the ability of an artist to really tap in to their own personal voice, or way of doing things that no one else can imitate, or appropriate. in a word: execution.”
De La Soul | A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” De La Soul | A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” (Ladies Nite Decision)
(From Roller Skating Jam CD single.)
10 questions (via e-mail) with RJD2.