De La Soul are suddenly on the forefront of music distribution. The classic hip hop group, who haven’t released a physical album since 2004’s underrated The Grind Date, put most of their records online for free download in February. And now, they’ve released a new mixtape exclusively via BitTorrent.
Well, that “new” part needs a bit of a qualifier: Smell The Da.I.S.Y. (that’s “Da Inner Soul of Yancey”) consists mostly of old De La Soul verses rerecorded over classic J Dilla beats, with some references to the late great producer thrown in. “Plug Tunin'” becomes “Dilla Plugged In,” “Potholes in My Lawn” becomes “Goes With the Word,” and etc.
The material isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s a warm, nostalgic listen and fitting tribute from De La to their longtime collaborator, who died of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura in 2006. Plus, there’s something wonderfully circular about a group that pushed sampling culture so far forward decades ago would be tinkering with a technology that’s rankled so many copyright-holders. Get Smell the Da.I.S.Y. here.