Legendary hip-hop trio De La Soul have announced that their entire discography will be available on streaming platforms for the first time by the end of 2021.
If you wanted to listen to De La Soul’s first six albums, from their seminal debut 3 Feet High and Rising through 2001’s AOI: Bionic, up to this point your options were fairly limited. You could physically buy their material through their old label Warner Brothers Records, or you could go on YouTube and listen through individual videos. That was about it.
The issue wasn’t that the trio, consisting of MCs Posdnuos and Trugoy plus DJ Maseo, didn’t want their material on streaming services, but rather that the lack of their direct ownership of their master recordings. Their new label, Tommy Boy Records, wanted to offer the group 10% of the streaming profits. The group refused, and the dispute continued. When Tommy Boy was acquired by Reservoir Media earlier this year, the label said they were trying to renegotiate a deal that would land the De La Soul catalogue on streaming services.
Evidently, that resulted in De La Soul being able to buy back their entire discography. “After years of being taken advantage by the recording industry in the worst possible ways, De La Soul now owns all the rights to their masters and is in full control of the amazing music they have created,” band friend and fellow rapper Talib Kweli wrote in an Instagram post.
“Let’s salute Plugs 1, 2 and 3 for sticking to their guns and showing us that we can all beat the system if we come together as a community. Let’s hear it for black ownership of black art!”
“We have finally come to a deal between ourselves and Reservoir Media to release our music in 2021,” the group’s David “Trugoy” Jolicoeur said during an Instagram Live stream. “There’s a lot of back work that needs to be done,” but he expected the release date to be around November for all streaming platforms.