In our never-ending pursuit to provoke thought and conversation, we present our newest editorial series, Armchair A&R. This platform will allow us to speak freely on moves we wish our favorite artists would make, though they probably never will. But let’s make one thing clear: Everything set forth here is highly speculative and isn’t meant to question the creative integrity of said artists.
Our first edition deals with De La Soul, an obvious Potholes favorite—just look at our website’s name. With two absolute hits in “Feel Good Inc.” and “Superfast Jellyfish”, we were wondering why the Long Island hip-hop crew hasn’t worked extensively with Damon Albarn and his Gorillaz project.
When 3 Feet High & Rising dropped in 1989, De La Soul’s genre-bending samples and peaceful raps changed the face of hip-hop as we knew it. Their ideology was refreshing, and, to this day, the album remains one of the most expansive hip-hop releases of all time. The crew has somehow been able to stay in tact over all these years, continuing that model of quality, always finding a way to reinvigorate their sound. When you look at the group’s discography, they had an uncanny ability to adapt to trends and build upon them. Furthermore, they knew when it was time to move on and try something new.
As was the case with Stakes Is High, their 1996 album that features all in-house production with some outside help from the one and only J Dilla. Considering their first three albums, 3 Feet High & Rising, De La Is Dead and Buhloone Mindstate, this would mark the first time De La Soul would part ways with Prince Paul. Over the years, De La Soul continued to reinvent their sound, working with new producers time and again. The common denominator in each step of progression had always been the producer, as the crew continued to step their game up and remain relevant.
As De La Soul branched out, they ran into Damon Albarn and the Gorillaz, first appearing on their 2005 Demon Days album by way of hit single “Feel Good Inc.”. They continued the relationship in 2010 on Plastic Beach with “Superfast Jellyfish”, a track that didn’t quite have the same commercial impact as “Feel Good Inc.”. But it was still an incredibly fun cut nonetheless.
Because the two groups came up with such magnificent music, we thought about why they haven’t produced more material together. Obviously, both have a ton of work on their respective plates—mostly through side projects—but their sound was so infectious and progressive that it baffled us to think it hasn’t happened more often.
With that said, we imagined what an entire collaborative album from De La Soul and Gorillaz would be like. To make things more exciting, we are going ahead and naming their album Mind The Island, a celebration of sorts of the groups’ hometowns. Furthermore, we have added a fully hypothetical, albeit killer, track listing with some dream features to spark additional conversation. The album is probably more feature-heavy than a real collaboration would be, but what fun is a bunch of random song names?
Check out the track listing below and let us know what you think. Feel free to add your own track names and dream features below!
De La Soul & Gorillaz – Mind The Island Track Listing
- “Intro” F. Prince Paul
- “Space Lounge”
- “Mind The Island”
- “Fatal Feminism” F. Lou Reed
- “Backpack Flapjacks” F. Q-Tip & Jungle Brothers
- “Mud Pie, Shepherd’s Flow”
- “London Calling (Skit)” F. Morrissey
- “Clint Eastwood’s Chair” F. Del The Funkee Homosapien
- “Dungeon” F. King Krule
- “Skit (The Olympics)”
- “Imposters” F. DOOM
- “Strong Island” F. Some Cute British Children’s Choir
- “Grey Poupon”