De La Soul finally jumps to streaming

Taijai Wallace, Staff Writer

With the sound of groovy drums, heartfelt sampling and medicinal, uplifting lyrics, De La Soul is here for your ears. De La Soul is releasing six of their seminal full-length albums on streaming platforms for the first time on March 3.

If you are not familiar with hip-hop pioneers De La Soul, then you might have heard their song “The Magic Number” from the end credits of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” or their Grammy-winning collaboration with Gorillaz on “Feel Good Inc.”

De La Soul is one of the most prolific hip-hop groups, having released nine studio albums, one live album and six compilation albums. But to date, many of their dopest records were only available for purchase on used physical media, such as vinyl LPs, CDs and cassette tapes, which drove up prices at record shops.

The primary reason their music took so long to arrive to streaming was due to the large amount of sampling from other sources.

According Rolling Stone magazine: “De La Soul’s back catalog has been stuck in digital purgatory for years thanks to various legal issues. Chief among them: The myriad uncleared samples that defined the sound of De La Soul’s classic records, but made them a legal minefield when it came to making them available digitally.”

In 2014, frustrated by Tommy Boy Records, De La Soul bypassed official channels to release their albums and simply made their back catalog of music available free as a legal download for 25 hours to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the trio.

“It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it,” Kelvin “Posdnuos” Mercer said to Rolling Stone. “This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”

On March 3, music fans and hip-hop heads can stream all the trio’s classic tracks, from their smart sampling and lyrical flow to contributions and collaborations.

If you love hip hop, then you will love De La Soul.

The group started in Long Island, New York, with founding members and life-long friends Mercer, Dave “Trugoy the Dove” Jolicoeur, and Vincent “Maseo” Mason.

De La Soul is also known for their contribution to the Native Tongues, a collective of late ’80s and early ’90s core hip-hop groups including artists such as Leaders of the New School, A Tribe Called Quest and Jungle Brothers. Those three groups, along with De La Soul, brought new sounds to hip hop no one had ever heard.

What makes De La Soul special? From the polyrhythms, and neo-soul feel, with a splash of acid jazz is only the basic formula to their creative madness, not to mention their creative use of eclectic samples from many artists and genres.

My top three albums from the magical trio are “3 Feet High Rising,” “Stakes is High” and “De La Soul is Dead.”

De La Soul’s most recent album, released in 2016, titled “and the Anonymous Nobody…” It was funded by their fans. The members dropped a poll to help fund the album, expectations were $100,000, but instead De La Soul fans came together to raise $600,000 from 11,000 fans. That is an astonishing amount from just a small number of people. It shows how much De La Soul’s fans appreciate them and their art.

The album is a great listen as well. From instrumentation to well-spoken poetry, it gives another great feel from the group but with unlimited creative control.

For those eager to hear De La Soul, two classic singles from “3 Feet High Rising” dropped to streaming platforms to promote the March 3 album release – “The Magic Number” on Jan. 13 and “Eye Know” on Feb. 3.

Jolicoeur died of undisclosed causes on Feb. 12. He was 54 years old.