De La Soul have announced they’re working on the final installment of their Art Official Intelligence series, 22 years after the last volume dropped.
During a visit to the Kyle Meredith With… podcast on Thursday (April 6), group member Maseo teased that a third AOI LP was in the works.
Maseo also confirmed to the podcast host that many of the vocals were recorded prior to the untimely death of Trugoy the Dove, but that fans would be able to enjoy new music as well.
“AOI 3 is definitely going to take precedent,” he said. “It’s going to be the very next thing. That’s a responsibility that we have to our fans — a responsibility we even have to ourselves — with completing that trilogy.
“We have a responsibility to continue on just to sustain [Trugoy’s] legacy and what we’ve built as three childhood friends, and we have a responsibility to Hip Hop.”
But Maseo also assured fans that they wouldn’t be getting a retread of the collective’s older material. “A lot of stuff is fresh,” he said. “There’s a couple of ideas I had been sitting on for a while. Nothing had lyrics on it.
“The stuff that had lyrics on it, we already kind of leaked it. That was ‘The Return of DST,’ the Chuck D record, ‘The People.’ The other one that we leaked was [‘Get Away,’], we used the Wu-Tang sample.”
Check out Maseo’s chat with Kyle Meredith below:
The last time De La Soul fans had an AOI installment was all the way back in 2001 when the legendary trio dropped AOI: Bionix, the second album of the trilogy. At the time, HipHopDX — which gave the album 4.5 out of 5 stars — remarked that the album was soulful and replete with sounds coming from the old school while pondering the then-upcoming release of AOI 3 in 2002.
AOI: Bionix was also the last album to be released on Tommy Boy Records before the label became defunct in 2002.
De La Soul then fought a protracted legal battle with their former label — and it was a battle that seemed hopeless until 2021 when Reservoir Media acquired its discography as part of its $100million acquisition of Tommy Boy in 2021.
Reservoir Media subsequently distributed De La Soul’s catalog via Chrysalis Records. As a result, the collective’s iconic tracks became available on all streaming platforms as of March 2023.
Just one week after the catalog became available, Billboard confirmed it registered 12.5 million official on-demand U.S. song streams in the week ending March 9 and sold 28,000 albums (both digital download and physical copies combined).