De La Soul's music is finally coming to streaming platforms

11 August 2021, 12:28 | Updated: 11 August 2021, 12:31

De La Soul in their 1989 prime around the time of Three Feet High & Rising
De La Soul in their 1989 prime around the time of Three Feet High & Rising. Picture: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

The pioneering hip hop trio have never been able to release their back catalogue digitally.

De La Soul have announced that their entire back catalogue will finally be available to stream later this year.

The legendary hip hop trio - comprised of Dave "Trugoy the Dove" Jolicoeur, Kelvin "Posdnuos" Mercer and Vincent Lamont Mason Jr. aka Maseo - revealed in an Instagram Live that their full back catalogue, most of which has never been legally available on streaming services, is coming to all major platforms.

The announcement comes after Reservoir Music's acquired the group's original label Tommy Boy Records earlier this year for $100 million.

De La Soul ran into legal problems with Tommy Boy due to several lawsuits being brought against the band regarding the clearance of samples. Their acclaimed 1989 debut album 3 Feet High And Rising features hundreds of samples that have attracted legal action over the years, meaning for a long time the record was only available on vinyl or CD.

A track like Say No Go, for example, features elements of the songs I Can't Go for That (No Can Do) by Hall & Oates, Sly Stone's Crossword Puzzle, Best Of My Love by The Emotions, That's The Joint by The Funky Four Plus One More and The Detroit Emeralds' Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms).

Trugoy said: "We’re thrilled. We have come to a deal between ourselves and Reservoir to release our music in 2021 — our catalogue 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.

"Our music will be released in 2021 on all streaming platforms - we’re trying to get the whole catalog out there. It’ll take a minute... a little minute... November."

Maseo added: "Just be clear, business was done fair … and with regard to how unique this situation was."

De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising
De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising. Picture: Press

The musician addressed the issue with samples not being cleared back in 2019, admitting that it was difficult to predict the legal problems De La Soul's music would attract back when they started out in the 1980s.

Appearing on SiriusXM’s Sway In The Morning radio show, Maseoe aka Plug Three said: "For some years, the catalogue had been held up because of the issues that existed behind the projects, with samples not being cleared.

“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 label.

"Nothing comes to the surface until it actually turns into something. If I was the record company at that time, I would have probably thought it was a small thing and not cleared it, ‘This little 30-second thing, who would come after that?’ And it happened!"