Legendary Long Island hip-hop trio De La Soul made its entire catalog available for online streaming Friday for the first time following a protracted battle over rights to their music.
The long-awaiting release came weeks after David Jude Jolicoeur, known widely as Trugoy the Dove and one of the founding members, died at age 54. Their streaming debut on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music and others after a long battle with Tommy Boy Records about legal and publishing matters. Fans were calling it “De La Soul Day” in celebration of the classic albums being made available.
“You think that you own your stuff and that now it’s on cruise control, waiting for the checks to come in. But it is not that way at all. There’s a lot to do,” Jolicoeur — who co-founded the group with Vincent Mason (Pasemaster Mase) and Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos) — told Billboard. “You do need collaborators, you do need help, you do need to rework back into the system and not necessarily be the lone commissioner of this project. You need allies, you need companies to work with, you need people to hire, and we learned a big lesson from that. It definitely wasn’t just, “We got our masters back!” It ain’t that.”
De La Soul’s debut studio album “3 Feet High and Rising,” produced by Prince Paul, was released in 1989 and praised for being a more light-hearted and positive counterpart to more charged rap offerings at the time. In 2010, the album was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its historic significance.
Sampling everyone from Johnny Cash and Steely Dan to Hall & Oates, De La Soul signaled the beginning of alternative hip-hop. In Rolling Stone, critic Michael Azerrad called it the first “psychedelic hip-hop record.” Over the years, the group was nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning one for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration for the Gorillaz song “Feel Good Inc.”
–With Associated Press