De La Soul have been close collaborators of Gorillaz ever since their appearance on the Damon Albarn-led collective’s 2005 smash hit ‘Feel Good Inc’. However, it has now been revealed that they were initially set to appear on a different song on the Demon Days album. In a recent interview on Kyle Meredith With…, De La Soul co-founder Maseo revealed that Damon Albarn initially wanted them to appear on ‘Kids with Guns’.
“When we went to do ‘Feel Good Inc.’, the initial song was ‘Kids with Guns,'” Maseo explained. “When we were having a conversation about ‘Kids with Guns,’ I honestly came out and said, ‘Hey man, I think we forcing it.’ I said, ‘I don’t think this is the record. I think we’re not really collaborating, we’re just featuring on the record. It’s like Gorillaz featuring De La. We really need to do like a collaboration, where we both artistically show our flavour.’ And sure enough, after a lot of weed and tequila, ‘Feel Good Inc.’ came up.”
Maseo continued to explain how the late member Trugoy the Dove was inspired when writing one of his verses. “Dave’s rhyme on the song is a spoof of ‘Doo Doo Brown’ by Luke Skywalker,” he explained. “If you really listen, some of the cadence, the rhyme pattern, and some of the lines — the ‘Don’t stop, get it, get it’ — that’s a little bit of Luke Skywalker’s ‘Doo Doo Brown.'”
‘Kids with Guns’ ultimately featured Neneh Cherry instead and was released as a two-part single with ‘El Mañana’. Though the track was a hit in the UK, it didn’t reach the heights of the dancefloor-ready ‘Feel Good Inc.’, which remains Gorillaz’s most well-known track with over one billion listens on Spotify.
Elsewhere in the interview, Maseo broke down why De La Soul and Albarn work together so well in the studio. “He’s truly out there for artistic value, and I got a lot of love for that,” he explained. “No idea is a bad idea until we try it — all egos are checked at the door. Everybody is doing their best to make a great song. He hears people on songs like instruments. Everybody’s vocal technically is an instrument, and that’s how he hears the track.”
“We are family with Damon,” he continued. “I’ve spent time with his wife and children right in his home. This a relationship that the universe put right in our lap. I think that’s one of those many blessings that have come from the hard work we put in and to be requested by him and then to ultimately be inducted into his family because he just feels there’s an energy that he’s a part of.”