The hip-hop trio has had a tumultuous history with their now-estranged record label Tommy Boy Records
Tommy Boy Records, the label that launched some of the 80's and 90's greatest acts (Queen Latifah, Coolio, and Digital Underground) under the direction of Tom Silverman, has been sold to music-rights company Reservoir for $100 million. Under the terms of the new deal, the masters of artists signed under Silverman will be passed over to the new company -- something De La Soul fans are hoping is a step in a positive direction. The trio had previously advocated against Tommy Boy Records for lack of proper compensation or fair business practices.
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The Long Island rap group's catalog returned to Silverman in 2017 after Warner Records divested several of their holdings. However, the group quickly found that Silverman had no intention of treating the legendary rap act fairly, forcing them into a deal where the group took only 10% of streaming profits compared to the label's 90%. Frustrated by label manipulation, group member Maseo said in 2019, "We're completely missing a significant part of this digital era because of all the infractions that exist with the back catalog," adding that he had to tour extensively to make up lost earnings.
At the time of the news, other legendary rappers of the same era rose to their defense. Figures like Nas and Questlove called for a boycott of Tommy Boy Records. Though negotiations were said to have continued, nothing had been resolved by the start of 2021.
Reservoir, who now owns six of the group's records, is said to have every intention of working alongside the group. In a statement to Variety, the company stated, "We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to bring the catalog and the music back to the fans.”
The group themselves explained in an Instagram post that they feel "a sense of greater peace of mind" following the deal.
Along with music from De La Soul, the purchase also turned over classic hits like Coolio's "Gangster's Paradise" and House of Pain's "Jump Around." Do you think this was a good move for De La Soul? Will you continue to stream their catalog? Let us know!