De La Soul think people have trouble relating to modern hip hop.
The rap group’s Kelvin Mercer and Dave Jolicoeur have teamed up with French producers 2 & 4 – aka Chokolate and Khalid – to create First Serve, a concept album charting the plight of a pair of budding young rappers, and they hope it has a message people can relate to no matter where they are.
Dave exclusively told BANG Showbiz: ”A lot of artists, they live in a certain environment and talk about the environment they live, unfortunately enough, not everyone can relate.
”And I think there was an era when artists talked about a broader environment, issues as oppose to what was happening down my street, and I think the world could latch onto those topics.
”America doesn’t embrace French or English rap because they don’t relate to the things people are saying when it just relates to their local neighbourhood.”
The pair added rappers who embrace more universal themes can be more successful, but warn that too has a downside, as it means more people copying them.
Dave added: ”Sometimes you hear people in the states say, ‘Yo, I dig Dizzee Rascal,’ because he has a record which is a party record, and you can party everywhere.”
Kelvin added: ”Like with Drake – it is a way forward, what he does works, but if people see it working then record labels see it working they’ll put out more artists who have that sound.
”If something breaks through then everybody else wants their version, they see my Coca-Cola, they want their Coca-Cola.”
‘De La Soul presents First Serve’ the album – in which the rap duo become their alter egos Jacob Barrow and Deen Whitter – is released on April 2.