After a lengthy fight with Tommy Boy Records to receive rightful ownership of their master recordings, De La Soul has become victorious in those efforts.
According to a social media post by rapper and People’s Party podcast host Talib Kweli announcing the news, which he says group member Maseo confirmed himself, the move is one that’s long overdue and is a testament to overcoming the systematic control that’s plagued artists of color.
“After years of being taken advantage by the recording industry in the worst possible ways, De La Soul now owns all the rights to their masters and is in full control of the amazing music they have created,” shared Kweli on Instagram. “Let’s salute Plugs 1, 2 and 3 for sticking to their guns and showing us that we can all beat the system if we come together as a community. Let’s hear it for black ownership of black art! Congratulations fellas…” During the Instagram live that took place between De La’s three members, it was revealed as a joke (while they were getting their technical difficulties in order) that Kweli will also be joining the group moving forward. However, that proved to be an offhand rib to Kweli as he was releasing information to the masses before De La could. The official lineup is still the original three man plugs.
The first major domino to fall in the iconic trio’s journey to acquiring their masters came this past June, when Reservoir Media acquired the catalog of Tommy Boy Records—the original label the “Me Myself and I” rappers were signed to—for $100 million USD. At the time, a rep for Reservoir revealed that the conglomerate had “already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to the bring the catalog and the music back to the fans.”
Under the agreement, the Long Island natives will now own the rights to their first six studio albums, including Three Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate, and Stakes Is High.