De La Soul’s Full Catalog Is Finally Streaming

De La Soul’s Full Catalog Is Finally Streaming

At long last, one of the all-time great music catalogs is back in circulation. Starting with their 1989 masterpiece 3 Feet High And Rising, the Long Island rap trio De La Soul developed a playful, intricate style that pioneered entire subgenres. For years, the group has been fighting to bring their classic albums to streaming services, a truly complicated task. One member of the group didn’t live to see it happen.

David Jolicoeur — otherwise known as Trugoy The Dove, Plug Two, and just Dave — died just three weeks ago, at the age of 54. Because of Dave’s passing, the long-awaited triumph of De La Soul’s arrival on streaming services has taken on a decidedly bittersweet tinge. Nevertheless, it’s finally happened. De La Soul’s streaming arrival was announced in January, and it here now. The group’s first six albums, from 3 Feet High And Rising through 2001’s AOI: Bionix, have finally been given digital release for the first time.

De La Soul’s whole style was famously built on a psychedelic patchwork of samples, and it harkens back to an era when rap artists could get away with that. In fact, the success of 3 Feet High And Rising helped end that era; the Turtles sued De La over a sample that appeared on a skit for 12 seconds, and the group settled out of court. In a recent New York Times feature, De La Soul’s surviving members talk about how they had to dig through old masters, figuring out all the uncleared samples and sometimes re-recording certain bits that were impossible or too expensive to clear.

Even if there have been some slight cosmetic changes, though, we now get to hear 3 Feet High And Rising and De La Soul Is Dead and Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High without resorting to dusty old CDs, glitchy pirate sites, or YouTube streams that might be gone in an hour. That’s cause for celebration, however bittersweet it might be.

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