De La Soul is a Grammy-award winning hip hop group from Long Island, New York. They are best known for their eclectic sampling and quirky, surreal lyrics, and their contributions to the evolution of the jazz rap subgenre. The members are Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos, Mercenary, Plug Wonder Why, Plug One), David Jude Jolicoeur (Trugoy the Dove, Dave, Plug Two) and Vincent Mason (P.A. Pasemaster Mase, Maseo, Plug Three). The three formed the group in high school and caught the attention of producer Paul Huston (Prince Paul) with a demo tape of the song “Plug Tunin’”. Prince Paul was also sometimes referred to as Plug Four.
With its playful wordplay, innovative sampling, and witty skits, the band’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, was hailed as a hip hop masterpiece. It is also the band’s biggest commercial success to date, with their subsequent albums selling progressively less, despite receiving praise from critics. The group has influenced other hip hop artists such as Camp Lo, Black Eyed Peas, and Digable Planets. They were also instrumental in the early stages of rapper/actor Mos Def’s career, and are a core part of the Spitkicker collective. They are the longest standing Native Tongues Posse group, after the Jungle Brothers.