De La Soul’s Whole Catalog Is Coming To Streaming Services In March
One of the all-time great rap catalogs has always been missing from streaming services, but that vexing situation is about to reach its happy conclusion. Long Island rap trio De La Soul started off their career with a run of four back-to-back classic albums, and those albums have been out of the conversation, mostly because the group’s whole sample-heavy aesthetic has been prohibitively costly to clear. This March, however, the group’s entire back catalog will finally arrive on digital streaming providers — a re-release timed to the 34th anniversary of the group’s debut album 3 Feet High And Rising.
For years, De La Soul have been working to bring their music to streaming, but it’s been a complicated process. Back when De La released their original albums, the samples that they used were mostly but not entirely cleared. (The Turtles famously sued the group over a sample that was included on a skit from 3 Feet High And Rising.) Those samples, however, were only cleared for physical release, and the process of clearing them for streaming was a whole other thing. The group also had a long-running dispute with Tommy Boy, their former label, over streaming royalties. Last year, De La announced that the albums would be on streaming by the end of the year, but that didn’t happen. This time, though, they’ve got a definitive release date and a big company behind them.
As the BBC reports, a company called Reservoir Media bought Tommy Boy and De La Soul’s master recordings in 2021. The deal cost Reservoir a reported $100 million. Today, Reservoir exec Faith Newman said, “When Reservoir acquired Tommy Boy, the first call we made was to De La Soul.”
“The Magic Number,” the 1989 classic that played over the end credits of the 2021 blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home, is coming to streaming 1/13. That’ll be followed by the release of De La’s first six albums, from 3 Feet High And Rising all the way up to 2001’s AOI: Bionix. Those albums will all arrive on streaming 3/3. (The three albums that De La released since 2001 were already streaming.)
In a statement, De La Soul say, “We can’t believe this day is finally here, and we are excited to be able to share our music with fans, old and new.”
When those albums all arrive, I would implore you to spend some time with 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate. For me, that’s always been the one.
UPDATE: Here’s “The Magic Number.”