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De La Soul's Entire Catalogue Coming to Streaming this Year

De La Soul is finally going digital.

After years of infighting between the hip hop trio and their label Tommy Boy, the group revealed Tuesday during an Instagram live session that its whole catalogue will be made available for streaming this year.

"We have finally come down to a deal between ourselves and Reservoir Media to release our music in 2021," group member Dave "Trugoy" Jolicoeur said. "Our catalog will be released this year, we are working diligently with the good folks at Reservoir, and we sat down with them and got it done pretty quickly actually."

Made up of Jolicoeur, Kelvin "Posdnuos" Mercer and Vincent "Maseo" Mason, De Las Soul were pioneers of alternative rap and prominent members of the so-called Native Tongues collective, along with A Tribe Called Quest, The Jungle Brothers and others known for the positive Afrocentric lyrics, eclectic samples and jazz influenced beats. A 2006 collaboration with the Gorillaz on the single “Feel Good Inc.” earned it a Grammy.

De La Soul (Photo Courtesy Instagram: @wearedelasoul)

Reservoir acquired Tommy Boy — founded by Tom Silverman in New York in 1981 and instrumental in launching the careers of Afrika Bambaataa, Queen Latifah, Digital Underground and Naughty By Nature amongst others — in June for a deal valued at $100 million dollars.

The purchase proved fortunate for De La Soul, to an impasse in negotiations with Tommy Boy over streaming rights in 2019 after the label acquired the rights to its back catalogue from Warner Records. 

Up till then the latter’s reluctance to clear samples and renegotiate contracts, according to Posdnuos, had kept it from being made available to stream. Tommy Boy planned to remedy that, but the deal was unpalatable to De La Soul.

“I don’t know what [Tommy Boy’s] deals were with clearing samples, but back then a lot was probably done on a handshake, especially when you’re an independent [record label],” said De La Soul’s DJ Maseo during an appearance on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning at the time. He added, "Now it’s 2019…but there are still some infractions around the catalog, things we’re sure aren’t cleared, that might have new potential issues. Also, what’s on the table [contractually] for De La Soul is unfavorable, especially based on the infractions that have taken place, the bills that exist over time. And we have continued to pay the price, and that’s one of our big concerns.”

The pressure from De La Soul, its fans and celebrity supporters were enough to quash the effort, which was planned to coincide with the 30th anniversary of their debut “3 Feet High & Rising.”

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