I Used to Love H.E.R.: RJD2

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 is deadDe 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 – 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 – 100’s of listens – 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”
  • BONUS:

  • 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.

4 thoughts on “I Used to Love H.E.R.: RJD2”

  1. I am so impressed with RJD2 – I’ve only begun to listen to his stuff just recently as I’m a fan of the AMC series MADMEN which uses a track off of his Magnificent City Instrumentals which I bought… and then I came across Ghostwriter which I immediately recognized and have always loved it when I chanced to hear it but I didn’t know RJ did that.

    Then tonight I’m checking out his Poorboy Megamix samples and I’m completely floored because one of the tracks sampled a flute intro which instantly transported me back to my childhood where I used to listen to the song he sampled. In fact I sat there stunned for about 10 minutes replaying it over and over until I finally remembered what it was – the intro to “Cross-Eyed Mary” from Jethro Tull!! The man samples Jethro Tull!!! I had 2 Tull cassettes that I found in a box of junk on the sidewalk – Aqualung which had Cross-Eyed Mary and Passion Play.

    So I figured I’d put the Poorboy track with Tull on Youtube to give a taste to other Tull fans and figured I’d add some images to accompany the music and what do I find? RJD2 also loves my favorite hiphop album of all time – De La Soul is Dead.

    That’s the album I heard in college that opened my eyes and ears to hiphop and alot more music as I grew up a headbanger and classic rock lover and didn’t much care for hip hop – until I listened to De La and Tribe.

    So there you go – a lengthy post but I was inspired to get it out because of all the wonderful music I’m listening to from RJD2. MUCH Respect.

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