It’s the return of the D.A.I.S.Y. age! Well, not exactly, but it is a kind of justice for anyone interested in the legacy of one of rap’s greatest. Almost three years ago, The A.V. Club published its Power Hour on De La Soul, a feature meant to showcase the breadth and artistry of an act in just 60 minutes’ worth of music. At the time, we bemoaned the legal purgatory in which the group’s catalogue seemed to be mired, a thorny mess of sampling rights and intellectual property arguments that prevented the distribution of most of De La’s music on streaming services. But thankfully, our long national nightmare is over: Very soon, anyone should be able to access the entirety of the act’s back catalogue online.
The news comes via an Instagram Live announcement made by the group on August 10. “We have finally come down to a deal between ourselves and Reservoir Media to release our music in 2021,” Trugoy, a.k.a. David Jolicoeur, revealed. Until now, only the last two studio albums, 2004's The Grind Date and 2016's crowdfunded …And The Anonymous Nobody, have been available. This comes after De La Soul’s former label, Tommy Boy—the seeming source of many of the difficulties in getting the legal issues resolved—was purchased by Reservoir Media in June. According to Jolicoeur, once the new owners took over, the resolution of the situation came quite quickly. “I’m not speaking to bash [Tommy Boy founder] Tom Silverman or Tommy Boy in any way, but we are happy that that chapter’s over and done with… I think we needed new soil to work with.” This comes after an earlier attempt by Tommy Boy to get De La’s music onto streaming services was met with dismay by the group, who claimed the label was set to claim “90% of all profits” in a massively unfair deal. Needless to say, the rappers seem much happier with this new arrangement.
Of course, that’s not to say they’ve been waiting to hear themselves on these streaming sites. “Spotify, Apple Music… I don’t even know what the fuck, I don’t fucking listen to any of that shit,” Jolicoeur added, prompting laughter from his bandmate Posdnuos, a.k.a. Kelvin Mercer. “But we’re thrilled, man, we’re happy. This was not only about regaining ownership, or a fair agreement in regards to percentages and all that. It was really and truly about constantly hearing folks all day, saying, ‘I want your music, where can Ifind your music,’…it’s going to take a minute. November.” In other words, you should be able to queue up a playlist that starts with “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” just in time for Thanksgiving, the most roller-skating-friendly holiday there is.
In celebration, let’s all take a listen to one of the group’s most recent killer tracks—their collaboration with DJ Shadow, on 2018's “Rocket Fuel,” which is honestly one of the best bangers we’ve heard in the past five years, and one you owe it to yourself to check out: