With a platinum plaque, two gold records, and a Grammy Award to their names, you would think rap trio De La Soul’s catalog would be available for enjoyment across streaming platforms. But, unfortunately for the Library Of Congress inductees, due to several legal issues — including potential earning disputes with their record label, Tommy Boy — emcees Posdnuos (real name Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy (real name David Jude Jolicoeur), and Maseo (real name Vincent Lamont Mason Jr.) never signed off on the agreement.
“We can’t believe this day is finally here,” the band said in a statement, “and we are excited to be able to share our music with fans, old and new”.
De La Soul’s Posdnuos explained the hold up during an interview with BBC in 2016.
“Our contracts on those early albums said specifically ‘vinyl and cassette,’” he said. “The wording wasn’t vague enough to lend itself to [new] music technology.”
He continued: “So once the whole age of digital music came into play, new deals needed to be cut for those entire albums.”
All-in-all, Posdnuos says that Warner Bros. “just don’t want to deal with it.”
“They’re like, ‘Is it worth it?’ They’ve got to go through almost every song with a fine comb to make sure this sample or that sample was cleared. It’s been a very lengthy, draining process.”
The group released 3 Feet High and Rising back in March 1989. The album features many of De La Soul’s biggest songs including “Me Myself and I”, “The Magic Number”, “Buddy”, and “Eye Know.” It’s frequently cited as one of the best rap albums of all time. In 2010, the Library of Congress’ National Recording
Registry deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
As for when specifically De La Soul’s music will be available, the group announced on social media that March 3, 2023 is the date. Check out their announcement below on Twitter.
— De La Soul (@WeAreDeLaSoul) January 3, 2023