Next week De La Soul will independently issue their first song and video in nine years, "Get Away (feat. the spirit of Wu-Tang)," in the first of the hip-hop group's planned series of monthly single releases, through YouTube and social media. De La Soul will join LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Ice Cube next month for this summer's national Kings of the Mic tour.
"I think it's a great record to reintroduce ourselves with," Maseo, the group's DJ, told Rolling Stone in an interview from Los Angeles before a show Wednesday. "It's pretty much reflecting on the state of hip-hop at this moment. Everything is redundant. Everything sounds the same. No real lyrical content. Everybody's just doing business, not really creating."
"Get Away," De La Soul's first single in the era of Facebook, Twitter and iTunes, marks 25 years since the trio formed in Long Island. In March they shot a video for the song, which samples a skit from the Wu-Tang Clan's 1997 Wu-Tang Forever. Other than the occasional collaboration – their song with Gorillaz, "Feel Good Inc.," won a Grammy – De La Soul have favored touring over recording since 2004's The Grind Date.
"I think putting out those singles would be more impressionable than dropping an album at this present day in music," Maseo explained, adding that the group will eventually release a long-in-the-works album, You're Welcome. "It's about trying to just creatively have a bunch of songs in the stable. You have to consider a lot from the administrative standpoint in the release of a project. I see the song that we're putting out being the perfect B-side – with a video this time."
Though Maseo says he expects singles will take precedent over albums, the group has discussed experimenting with making soundtrack-style records in the vein of Isaac Hayes' Shaft and Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man.
"It's long overdue. Trust me, man, it disgusts me how long it takes for us to make a record," Maseo said with a laugh. "Out of all the time we take, we are always happy with the finished product."