After releasing seven records and earning legendary status on the hip-hop scene, De La Soul have decided to start over as an entirely new band - the curiously titled First Serve.
Fronted by Pos and Dave - who have re-named themselves Jacob and Deen respectively - the story goes that the pair laid down demos in Mama Deen's basement before hooking up with French producers 2 & 4. The result is their eponymous "debut" album, which is available in April.
Confused? So were were, so we met up with them under their new guises to find out more about the record's concept, how their former band inspired their new material, and what they make of today's hip-hop scene.
Where did the name First Serve come from?
Jacob: "We're just trying to serve it all up - music, lyrics, etc. We want to serve it to you all first. We want to serve up our whole experience on a plate - it's nothing to do with tennis, by the way!"
You're big fans of De La Soul; how has their music inspired this album?
Jacob: "We have a connection in terms of hip-hop music and respecting it. They're from Queens, we're from Long Island... there are a lot of other MCs and groups that we love, but it's great how they paved the way for others like First Serve. They sang 'three is the magic number', but the magic number for us is four!"
Deen: "De la Soul didn't inspire this album. We love what they do, but we see this as completely different to what they do."
You made the majority of the record in Deen's mum's basement...
Deen: "The early stages of the record were made there - it's where we crafted the partnership. We were mainly just tapping on tables, getting drunk and high. That was the basis of First Serve. We then tried out some live shows in Paris, where we met 2&4."
How have you found it working with a completely different style of producer?
Jacob: "It's been great - they are both very hard working guys! Our sound has become a mixture of soul and rhythmic. You can't compare it to anything else out there at the moment."
Deen: "A lot of guys out there are doing titty music at the moment. We've done something that is completely our own flavour."
Your new single 'Must B The Music' has a classic hip-hop sound to it with a modern, funky twist. Is that what the rest of the LP sounds like?
Jacob: "Our mission was to create something timeless. It's not old school - it's every school! The track we've put out is a good starting point for what the album sounds like, but we explore it a lot further."
What do you make of the hip-hop scene today?
Deen: "We've not been in the game long enough to say how it should be and what it should sound like. You've got to respect those out there who do what they do. We're not doing this album for a cause or purpose, it's only for fun. This record has a very different feel to, say, a Rick Ross one. You've got to give everything its time and space."
Jacob: "Every artist sits down and works as hard as we do, it's just in a different direction to what we're doing right now."
A lot of it has gone quite dancey...
Jacob: "Some artists like to get their collabs on. There is a lot of that going on at the moment. We didn't dabble into that for this album - a freshman album is about the individual finding their place in their game."
Is collaborating something you'd consider for your next album?
Deen: "Definitely! We'd love to see some other artists get involved in the project."
A lot of hip-hop acts are working with Justin Bieber. Would you consider doing that?
Jacob: "I mean he cut that cheque, right? He's living that pop life. I'd consider it."
Deen: "He's not amazing by any means, but you can't fault him for what he does."
Do you hope to have a career as long as De la Soul's?
Deen: "Those guys had a nice career. They peaked, saw the world, and I'm sure they were satisfied with their careers. Who wouldn't want that? You want to touch as many people as possible."
First Serve release 'Must B The Music' on March 26. Their self-titled album follows on April 2. Watch the 'Must Be The Music' video below: