We know Vincent Mason as DJ Maseo, the beat-making backbone to the pioneering hip-hop trio De La Soul, which formed in Long Island in 1987. (“Me Myself and I,” a single from their 1989 debut 3 Feet & Rising is considered one of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.) We also know him as the man behind the maniacal laugh sample found at the beginning and throughout Gorillaz’ 2006 hit “Feel Good Inc.”
Auburn running back signee Tre Mason knows him as dad.
The South Florida speedster graduates from Park Vista High School in Palm Springs on May 27 and plans to start class at Auburn a few weeks later. The week after DJ Maseo graduated from high school, he went on tour with LL Cool J, Slick Rick, and Big Daddy Kane.
To each his own.
We talked with DJ Maseo on the morning of National Signing Day, a few hours after Tre, the second player from the 2011 recruiting class to fax Auburn his letter of intent, all but officially became an Auburn Tiger. The first thing we asked him was whether Tre listened to De La Soul in the locker room.
“I don’t think so,” Maseo said. “I know he listens to Little Wayne and Wacka Flocka. He definitely likes the current day rappers, but every now and then I’ll walk in on him and he’ll be listening to Big Daddy Kane or Slick Rick and I’m shocked, completely shocked. He’s like ‘Daddy, I like Big Daddy Kane, honestly!’ One time I played him a record that Big Daddy Kane came out with before I even came out with a record and he actually thought it was a new record. I was like, ‘Tre, this came out in ’87, ’86.”
Does Tre’s running match the style of Brent Fullwood or James Joseph as well as his taste in music? Daddy Maseo had no idea. So that was our next question: How much did he know about Auburn before the coaches came knocking and what did he think about Auburn once they started.
“You could have said Apple University [before Tre was recruited] and it wouldn’t have mattered to me. I don’t even follow football like that. My brother is the football specialist, I’m music,” Maseo said. “I’m being perfectly honest with you, all I care about is the scholarship opportunity being presented for [Tre] to play ball at whatever school he chooses. What mattered to me as a parent was, if he happens to get hurt, will be he able to fulfill his education. Will the scholarship go away if his career playing football goes away? I think about life after football.”
Maseo said Auburn, more than any other school, gave him the guarantee he was looking for.
“As a parent I’m content with that.”
He’s also apparently content with leaving his turntables at home on Saturdays; the last thing we asked him was if he’d lend his skills to Auburn’s pregame production — at least that laugh.
“Maybe, if it’s conducive to what I do and not, you know… not cheesy,” Maseo said. “I can’t sacrifice artistic value, you know, but maybe, if it’s conducive.”
It was nice of him to say, but we sensed his reluctance (breathe easy, T-Will).
“I don’t want to be in the spotlight,” Maseo said. “I’ve got mine. [Tre’s] got his.”
“Well, War Eagle anyway.”
“Oh, yeah,” he laughed. “HA HAA HAAAA HHHAAAA… War Eagle!”
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