De La Soul came from Long Island, NY, Amityville to be exact, with a fresh style of their own. It wasn’t just the music either. They ushered in the DAISY (Da Inner Sound, Y’all) era through their bouncy, sample-laden approach to hip-hop, yes, but also through their decidedly unique fashion sense. Soul-—Which has just released their 11th studio album, And the anonymous person, Friday-this was perfectly clear in their 1989 video for “Me, Myself & I”, who saw the trio in the baggy pants and leather medallion surrounded in a classroom filled with gold chains, wraparound sunglasses, fur hats, tracksuits wearing clones, including the boombox-carrying professor.
De La Soul’s style might have been rebellious, given the state of hip-hop material in 1989, but it came from their parents. This shouldn’t be all that surprising considering that this is also where a lot of their musical influences come from. It made sense that while Posdonous, Maseo, and Trugoy the Dove aka Dave looted mommy and daddy’s record collections, they were also shopping in their closets.
“We were no different from any kid growing up in our neighborhoods who wanted to have the gold chain like Run-DMC or the Nikes that KRS One wore,” Posd we told Playboy earlier this summer. “We wanted to look good, but we were interested in trying different things to do it. Dave would say to me: “Let’s take our father’s old pants, which were stockings with elephant legs but with a straight leg. Then they will look like Lee, but the patterns will be different.
This is not revisionist history, because Pos told Melody Maker more or less the same in ’89: “We wore our fathers’ checkered pants really high for years, and at first everyone in Amityville thought that me and [Dave] were crazy. But later they got to accept it and it got to the point where they just shrugged and said, yeah, well, it’s just Pos ‘n’ Dove.
“We’ve been different since we got to school,” said Trugoy the dove. in the same interview with Melody Maker. “We didn’t dress like everyone else and we had our own language so no one knew what we were talking about.”
They were called hippies because of the peace signs on their leather medallions and cut in their asymmetrical hairstyles and the flowers on their record cover – not to mention the whole history of DAISY Age – but it was not an identity. they claimed. Rather, their look was a vintage suburb, closer to the Beastie Boys than the Grateful Dead. Loose buttons, not tie-dye. They weren’t as Afrocentric as the other bands from Native Tongues, A Tribe Called Quest, or The Jungle Brothers. But in an era when hip-hop clothing mostly ranged from black Adidas tracksuits from Run-DMC to black military suits from Public Enemy, De La stood out.
“On serious advice, we don’t think we’re that different,” Posdnuos said on that 1989 show, “it’s just that everyone is trying to be the same.”