Hip-hop’s royal trio De La Soul have announced that their eighth studio album will be funded through a Kickstarter campaign. The group is raising $110,000 for their first full-length since 2004’s The Grind Date. Once the project is funded, they’ll head into the studio next month with guest artists such as David Byrne, 2 Chainz, Little Dragon, and Damon Albarn. Their plan is to draw samples from a series of live studio jams they curated with LA supergroup Roots Rhythm All-Stars. Dave Jude Jolicoeur, aka Trugoy, has spoken to the concept, saying, “One way to look at this is that we’re sampling ourselves. So far, we’ve got over 200 hours of tape — we’ve been recording this music for years and finally we’ve got what we need to make the best De La Soul record ever.”
The choice to self-sample is linked to the legal troubles that the trio have encountered over the years. Licensing issues have kept most of their sample-heavy catalogue off of digital music services such as Spotify and iTunes, but last year the group digitally released the Warner Brothers Records-controlled portion of their discography for free.
Like any good crowdfunding Campaign, De La’s Kickstarter is offering an extensive grab bag of rewards for contributors, including but not limited to Da La Soul thumb drives, autographed De La edition Nike Dunks, a Skype session, dinner date, or shopping trip with Pos, Dave and Maseo themselves, and for the highest bidder, a brief guest appearance on the album. Jolicoeur explains the idea behind the album on the Kickstarter page:
There’s a real freedom in laying down tracks in the studio knowing that the fans are the ones directly supporting the record being made, not to mention there’s a motivation to really push the limits and make something great. That’s just not there when the direct support is coming from a label that’s mainly concerned with getting a product out, making as much profit as possible from it, and then moving on to the next one. That’s not to say profit doesn’t matter and all labels are bad—but just that it definitely lights a fire under the artist when your support is coming from the people who really understand your story and your direction. It’s a beautiful place to be.