Some of rap’s most innovative vets are returning to the fold—and they’re doing so with a new bag of tricks. De La Soul announced today that work on their eighth studio album, the first since 2004’s The Grind Date, is well underway. The catch? To complete the album, De La Soul is asking fans to crowdsource funding through Kickstarter—a resource that didn’t even exist when The Grind Date dropped.

“Typically the fans have been the ones who support and appreciate our vision, so using Kickstarter and giving our fans the opportunity to be a part of the process just feels right,” De La Soul wrote on the project’s Kickstarter page. “We see Kickstarter as a home for creative minds and a wonderful platform; where people who believe, respect and see the vision, can support an idea and make it a reality.”

But, like any good infomercial or Apple keynote, there’s more. De La Soul also wants to reinvent how hip-hop artists use and clear samples, a business obstacle they claim has stifled their creativity. Their solution to the often-messy legal process of sampling is simple and way cool: De La Soul created their own source material. According to the Kickstarter, the group hired “some of LA’s finest studio musicians and recorded them in free-styled, unrehearsed jam sessions” on “everything from banjo to upright bass.”

The sessions yielded over 200 hours of recordings, in essence creating new crates of records for De La Soul to sample from and freeing them from “the infamous ‘sample police.'” That resulted in an album that “will incorporate elements of jazz, funk, rock, country western, and anything else [they’re] in the moment.” The album also has a stacked lineup of collaborators lined up: The Kickstarter announced Damon Albarn, 2 Chainz, Little Dragon, and David Byrne.

Backers who donate to the project now will be eligible for a bunch of cool goodies, including thumb drives shaped like the heads of De La Soul members, a Skype session with the rappers, De La Soul Nikes, and even Dave “Trugoy” Jolicoeur’s gold record for 3 Feet High And Rising—but that last one has already been claimed, for a whopping $10,000.

De La Soul
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