By Evelyn Lopez
Notorious hip-hop legends, De La Soul, have announced the date for their long-awaited comeback to streaming services. After almost 20 years, the group’s full catalog, including the albums 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul is Dead, Stakes are High and more, will be reissued and released on vinyl on March 3rd, 2023.
The group kicked off their return by putting “The Magic Number” on streaming services on Jan. 13, 2023. The single is track two on their critically acclaimed debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising. After being in the ending credit scene for “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, the track gained recent popularity, and now new fans and long-time De La Soul listeners can finally blend it into their music rotations on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
If you are somehow new to one of the most influential hip-hop groups of the 90s, I suggest you check them out before March. To both impress your friends and listen to some feel good music, catch up on their discography and get a head start before they come to streaming.
De La Soul has been credited for being one of the founders of “Jazz-Rap” and other alternative hip-hop subgenres. They stand out from other hip-hop groups of the 90s with their eclectic sampling, quirky style and progressive lyricism. The group has been compared to and stands alongside A Tribe Called Quest and Jungle Brothers, as they are all members of the hip-hop collective, Native Tongues Posse. They have also worked with some of my favorite artists, such as Mos Def and J-Dilla while, as of recently, they have also collaborated with Gorillaz on the track “Momentz” off of Humanz (2017).
It has been over four years since De La Soul and Tommy Boy Records initially stated that their music was coming to streaming, but due to legal disputes and issues regarding exploitation, the group decided to postpone. Originally, the group was going to release their digital albums through Tommy Boy, but they were not satisfied with the contract proposal. The group was told they would only get 10% of their earnings from streaming, while the label kept the remaining 90%.
“We are not happy about releasing our catalog under such unbalanced, unfair terms. #RespectTheArtist.”- @wearedelasoul Instagram post back in February of 2019.
While pressing Tommy Boy Records to negotiate a better deal, the group decided to reach out to the public and their fans as a way of bringing awareness to the issue. Their protest was supported by the likes of Jay-Z and Cartoon Network with their feature episode on “Teen Titans Go!” The episode had De La Soul members Posnudous, Trugoy and Maseo alongside the Teen Titans fighting a monster that was stealing and eating their music.
As discussed by Variety, it was not until August 2021 that the group was finally able to gain ownership of their music when Reservoir Records acquired Tommy Boy Records for $100 million. De La Soul now has ownership of their masters and full direction over their image. So, mark your calendars, because De La Soul is back!
Featured Image from Toby Mott and Paul Spencer, Grey Organisation.
Written by: Amaya Lewis