With their unique sampling and innovative lyrics, De La Soul has made a lasting impact on hip hop. Through the influence of producer Prince Paul, this celebrated trio formed in 1988 with members Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo from Long Island’s Amityville neighborhood. They gained notoriety for pioneering jazz rap and alternative hip hop through projects like 3 Feet High & Rising- often hailed as an iconic album that changed what classic hip hop could be.
The hip-hop group, whose influence once nurtured the early career of rapper/actor Mos Def, has been a trailblazer in the music industry. With their first album being an impressive commercial success and heaps of critical praise to follow suit with subsequent releases – their 2006 Grammy win for collaborative effort “Feel Good Inc.” was just one way they’ve solidified themselves as musical legends. Even though frontman Trugoy passed away from congestive heart failure in 2023 after battling it since 2017, his legacy lives on through And the Anonymous Nobody; funded by Kickstarter but featuring some massive names like Damon Albarn & Little Dragon.
The Daisy Age & Beyond
De La Soul burst onto the hip hop scene in 1989 with their critically acclaimed debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising. With singles like “Me Myself and I” garnering huge success it didn’t take long for them to become members of Native Tongues Posse alongside A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep, Queen Latifah and more. Unfortunately they ran into legal trouble when The Turtles sued over a sample taken from their 1969 song “You Showed Me” which was featured on the interlude track “Transmitting Live From Mars”.
De La Soul Is Dead (1991) marked a change in direction for the hip hop trio, showcasing their ability to thoughtfully criticize the genre’s increasingly violent imagery while still embracing humor. Its iconic cover art featured an overturned daisy pot – signifying the end of rap’s “D.A.I.S.Y Age” and its associated images- gave way to singles like “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa” about child abuse and “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)”, which explored being labeled with negativity from society; featuring guest verses by Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest on “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays'”.
How Contractual Disputes Kept Their Music Away From Fans
After years of contractual battles, De La Soul’s music will at long last accessible to fans digitally. Until recently the back catalog was owned by Warner Records and they had been unable to clear samples for digital distribution due a lack of renegotiated contracts. Fortunately, their classic tracks are now able to be heard on streaming services after agreements were made between artists and label owners – what an exciting breakthrough.
In 2017, Tommy Boy Records purchased the catalog of iconic hip hop group De La Soul. However, when they announced their intention to make it available on digital services in 2019 and learned the royalties would be split with them receiving only 10%, influential figures such as Nas and Questlove called for a boycott until negotiations were completed. Unfortunately further talks between both parties terminated without success by August that same year. Since then Benjy Grinberg; CEO of Rostrum Records has been leading an attempt to purchase Tommy Boy so that he can return rights back over to De La Soul himself – reports suggest this may still happen now into 2020.
Music fans everywhere rejoiced when it was announced that iconic hip hop trio, De La Soul, would be taking control of their own music destiny on August 8th 2021. And after much anticipation the group’s first six albums were released for streaming a mere two years later – an event celebrated by listeners worldwide! The relaunch and distribution of this classic catalogue is thanks in part to Reservoir Media who acquired Tommy Boy records earlier with plans to bring its catalogs into digital media storefronts.