It’s been a decade since all three members of De La Soul recorded a studio album together, but the 3 Feet High and Rising crew are back with a powerful new song titled “The People.” This hard-hitting socially conscious track features a guest appearance by Public Enemy frontman Chuck D. “Lyrically, Chuck brings a sense of authority and urgency. The power in his voice demands your attention,” De La Soul’s Trugoy tells Rolling Stone of working with the hip hop legend. “It’s a dream come true for us.”
“The track’s vibe was earnest and had a pressing tone to it,” Trugoy adds. “The lyrics are commentaries of our struggles and successes, our weaknesses and strengths…the experiences, trials and tribulations we have faced as human beings, a race and individuals.”
While the song’s message aligns itself with what’s going on across the nation after a grand jury decided not to press charges against Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, “The People” is almost an accidental anthem for the protestors.
“Originally ‘The People’ was supposed to drop in June, around the same time the Chuck D/Hot 97/Rosenberg situation took place. We chose to hold off and not add fuel to any fires,” Trugoy says. “Our next aim was for a Black Friday release. Coincidentally, the Ferguson tragedy took place and now the non-indictment verdict. Somehow this song was destined to be a part of something more than just dropping a joint. We hope it will lend itself to something positive in these difficult times.”
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While De La Soul will offer “The People” as a free download (something they’re prone to doing), they’ll also restock the merchandise section of their official website with some new goods. Proceeds from those sales will benefit I Love Ferguson, which helps out business owners affected by the protests, and All Star Code, a non-profit organization that help young African-Americans learn computer programming.
As for more new music, Trugoy tells Rolling Stone that a new De La Soul album – their first as a trio since 2004’s The Grind Date – will arrive in 2015.