De La Soul Explained Why It Took So Long To Put Their Albums On DSPs

Old-school rap fans got a great belated Christmas gift to start the new year with the news that De La Soul’s catalog would finally be available for streaming this spring. The announcement ended a decade-long wait marked by ownership struggles, compensation disputes, and numerous false starts which frustrated fans who couldn’t listen to Golden Era rap staples like “Me Myself & I” or “Stakes Is High.” Starting on March 3, though, those songs and all many, many others will finally be available to stream for the first time.

In a new interview with Billboard, the pioneering rap trio explained why it took so long to get their catalog to DSPs, even after they reacquired their masters, and how they’ve remained relevant all this time. As group member Posdnuos put it, “Once [the masters] got into our hands, along with Reservoir assisting us, once again, there were a lot of samples and things that needed to be taken care of. It was long, but it wasn’t grueling.”

However, he said, it helped that “a lot of these owners, writers, and publishers were De La Soul fans,” and they were willing to work with the group to help clear those samples. Dave, meanwhile, highlighted how the group’s partnership with Reservoir, the label that bought their catalog from original owner Tommy Boy Records, saved the group a lot of work.

“If we didn’t have the help of Reservoir, who picked up the project and is collaborating with us to do this release, I don’t know where we would turn to,” he said. “It would have been even more work. So 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.”