There is no getting around it: De La Soul is one of the best and most innovative groups to ever bless hip-hop. The culture was shifted left-of-center after their 1989 debut album 3 Feet High and Rising was released, and has been hard to find for a new generation of audiophiles.
Until now… hopefully.
According to a report by Variety, De La Soul’s groundbreaking releases, which ushered in “the D.A.I.S.Y. age,” could be heading to streaming services thanks to a $100 million catalog acquisition of former label Tommy Boy by Reservoir.
If you’re not a student of hip-hop history, here’s the skinny: the iconic rap trio’s first six albums were embroiled in legal problems with Tommy Boy Records due to both the extensive use of uncleared samples as well as their overall contract with the label. With Posdunos, Dave, and Maseo down at Reservoir, the CEOs there are attempting to bring these classics to the streaming masses. “We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to bring the catalog and the music back to the fans,” a label spokesperson told Variety.
A few years ago in 2019, the group revealed on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning show that they would receive just 10% of any streaming revenue from Tommy Boy as per their original contract, and eventually refused to sign off on a deal to service the albums to DSPs like Apple Music, Spotify, or Tidal. They later urged fans not to stream their older music, including the aforementioned 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, and more.
With the group going on record on Sway, saying they have never earned more than “peanuts” or “pennies” through their music, the former MTV host asked then about how De La felt regarding those long-lost albums being made available on streaming services. “I can’t say I’m not with it,” Maseo said. “I’m just not with the administrative structure behind it. Let’s be straight up: We don’t really financially benefit—there’s so many infractions around this whole thing that we’ll probably never see [any] money from it or any project that has these infractions.”
This story is still developing.