Artist on Artist: Posdnuos of De La Soul talks to Rhymefest | Artist on Artist | Chicago Reader

Artist on Artist: Posdnuos of De La Soul talks to Rhymefest 

"Kids don't listen to Obama—they listen to 50 and Drake, and they'll actually listen to Obama because Drake said so"

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Are you happy right now in life? Lovely. I'm definitely happy. Beautiful kids, man—without a doubt, I'm happy with where my life is. And I can always look at what could have been better, what I could've done better, but then I've never counted out the fact that I still have time to achieve it.

And I'm very happy—I gotta tell you personally—I'm very happy for you that you're so happy in life right now. It's really nothing better to hear than another black man that's in music that's been doing it for over 30 years to say that he's the happiest he's ever been. That makes my soul smile, brother, so I'm really happy about that. That's real. Thank you, bro.

How do you feel when you go out with your family and people recognize who you are still, and you see the smile on your children's face, or the pride on your girl's face, when people know who their daddy is? Nah, it's an amazing feeling. And it's something that I've been going through since, what, we started when I was like 17, 18, from that point until now—so like every day of my life, someone could say it. And it's said in such—especially in this last decade or so, it's never nothing so crazy like, "Oh my God! Ahh!" It's like, "Hey man, De La, what up?" or "Posdnuos," you know? It's really heartfelt. And it's like, you can really reel it all in, as opposed to a bunch of screaming, they can't think. It's like they can really think and convey to me their thoughts and their love—and my kids seeing it from that level, it really helps them to see it from a clearer standpoint than just like pandemonium, which even turns them off. They can sit there and see, like, this guy or this girl, or this young boy who got to know me through "Stakes Is High" or maybe through Gorillaz, or someone of my age who got to know me from the first album, talk to me clearly, calmly, and spend that moment of holding my hand and telling me what I mean to them.

Do you support anybody politically? Are you a part of any political party? How do you feel about the presidential campaign in effect now? I mean, from where my life is, from what I try my best to teach my kids and what I've seen, at this point, definitely, I mean, Democratic is what's the word for me. From where Obama is, I do feel like, you know, the amount of time Bush had in office to do what he needed to do, and along with maybe some of the things that were not so effective—policies that he put in play or supported that weren't as effective for people that I see every day—to think that some man can come in and wave a magic wand and make it go away, I think that's one thing unfortunately that a lot of people, whether black or white, need to get past.

They have to realize that we're in this amazing age of technology where everything goes fast—we're on the Internet now, where we can download Rhymefest songs real fast as opposed to walking out your house, getting on the bus, going to Uncle George to get it. I mean, no one does that no more. We think that everything in our lives has to be fast, and given to us fast, and I think he needs his next term to do what he needs to do.

So do you think—I mean, Barack Obama definitely had a big split in the black community with his recent announcement of support of gay marriage. Did that affect you at all? I mean, it seems as though black people as a group and America don't support gay marriage. And for the first black president to come out and say, "OK, I support gay marriage"—did that hit you in a way? It didn't hit me in nothing negative at all. It was like, wow, he stepped up and he really spoke hopefully what was true to him and he shared it. 'Cause I do feel that it's fair to know that someone—and we could be on this subject for hours, so I don't really wanna go there, but put it like this. My oldest daughter, she's gay. So I mean, like, I know the fact of good people being good people and bad people being bad people. And even a bad person gets a chance to clear his or her life up, and I think that a lot of times when you think of it from the standpoint of marriage, it's like, Yo, why wouldn't two people be blessed to have a union?

I understand where a book has been put into play, whether it's the Bible or what have you, that makes people feel this way on the subject, or just. . . . Honestly a lot of times I feel there isn't even anything in the book, in the Bible or whatever else, it's a lot of things are just tradition. It's just what you were taught. And so you were taught to think like this, opposed to then realizing that you can understand for yourself that this person is a good person—

When you found out your daughter was gay, did you have to evolve on that position? Not at all. For me, it was something that I already felt I knew about her, because that's how I view my kids. And it was something for me that I've been blessed to have a lot of great people help me in my life steer me in the right direction, give me great business advice, give me great life advice. I'm not—I would never front for anyone. I grew up under the same understanding of, like, calling somebody a faggot or "Yo, get out of here" or "Ill, that's whatever." And for me to stand in front of my daughter's face, she knows how true I am. I can be like, yo, I'm a straight man. My instincts or how I can feel about something of that nature would be like, "Yo, that's not for me." But I know that doesn't make me turn around and say that person is going to hell, that person is not a good person, that person doesn't deserve the same rights that I deserve.

Do you think that artists have a responsibility to community in a way that supersedes art? For example, Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte, Stevie Wonder are all artists who went outside of their art to do grassroots community efforts as well. Curtis Mayfield. Do you feel that rappers have or should have that same responsibility? It's hard for me to say that they should be—you know, you should—but I really wish more would. You know what I'm sayin'? I really wish more would take the time to realize that, as opposed to realizing it a little too late, that who you are and what you're giving—there are a lot of young and impressionable eyes that look at what you do. And just the fact that you could be a person that, since these people are listening religiously to what you say, you could give them information that could be food, and great levels of positiveness for their soul.

And I mean, like I said—I'll say that all day to anyone—De La Soul has been given all this respect for being this group that talks about love, or this, that, and the third. I mean, man, don't get it twisted. We talked about sex, we talk about having good times, we talkin' bout fights we got into on "Pease Porridge." We're just normal people. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't think that someone should be forced to do it, but I definitely wish more artists definitely would do it. Because it would help our community. It would help our kids. Because they don't listen to Obama—they listen to 50 and Drake. They actually do, and they'll actually listen to Obama because Drake said so.

First Serve, The Goon Time Mixtape

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