photo by Julian Malagon

Soul Focus

 

“What happened to simplicity?”

 

Whenever you’re afforded the chance to see things that inspire you – whether it be music, art, culture, or simply all of the above, it moves you. That was partially the reaction if not immediately when De La Soul took the Annenberg Summer Concert stage. Music you’ve heard through speakers, word of mouth recitations with friends and family doesn’t account for the real thing and with the energy given by the crowd, it was just that.

 

De La Soul is a group from (Str)ong Island, NY and has been bringing hip hop to the masses for the past almost 28 years. Sustainable lyrics, a laid back innovative sound and it’s not wonder that the trip has been around for as long as they have. The crowd ranged from toddlers to elders, but everyone was waving their hands in solidarity. The in-betweens hide the widest eyes and didn’t miss a beat. It made for the perfect summer music night; a laid back, charged environment with smooth vibes and that golden era feel.

photo by Julian Malagon

Before they got down to business, they asked for the crowd to stop being millennials (and put their camera away); at this, you might get the feel of them not wanting flashes to go off in their faces as their performing or as some performers might require cash for a live pic, but you suddenly get it — they want your undivided attention (as if they didn’t already have it). They want you to focus on them, their music and not give into the most double taps on an Instagram post. They wanted you to party with them. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

 

“What happened to simplicity?”

 

They broke into hits from their debut album, 3 Feet High & Rising, they spanned over De La Soul is DeadStakes is High to The Grind Date (Much More is a favorite).

 

“When we say viiiiiiiibe, we want y’all to say vibrations!” 

 

That is exactly what it was. Electric vibrations. That feel when you’re in the backyard on a nice summer afternoon with your friends with good food and it’s that feel – like you’re back in the 90’s and you’re hearing it for the first time. Along a few seconds of a wave were Usher and the legendary Scarface, who, would’ve been very welcomed by the crowd if they were to have a moment or two, but the night was about De La. All different faces, heights, and waving hands told a vastly different story of a full crowd that unified for music.

 

They had their undivided attention. Their soul focus.

 

Grace Broughton for The N.Q.M. 
Photos by Julian Malagon
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