According to Talib Kweli, De La Soul’s years-long fight to retain ownership of their masters has finally ended in their favor. On Sunday (Aug. 8), following the New Yorker’s conversation with DJ Maseo — one third of the rap group — he took to Instagram to reveal the news.
“Ladies and gentlemen I spoke to @djmaseo from the legendary @wearedelasoul today and it’s official,” Kweli penned his caption. “After years of being taken advantage by the recording industry in the worst possible ways, De La Soul now owns all the rights to their masters and is in full control of the amazing music they have created.
“Let’s salute Plugs 1, 2 and 3 for sticking to their guns and showing us that we can all beat the system if we come together as a community. Let’s hear it for Black ownership of Black art! Congratulations fellas.”
De La Soul had been fighting for the rights to their music for years, but the terms of their unclear deal with former record label Tommy Boy Records led to several conflicts, made negotiations difficult and ultimately prevented it from happening.
“We realize, there is a process in reclaiming ownership but we do not trust Tommy Boy in this process after so many years of disappointment,” the rap trio told fans in a 2019 Instagram post. “Therefore, our catalog will not see the light of day by way of our involvement or consent.”
Hopes to own the rights to their music were later increased when the label was acquired by Reservoir Media.
In June, following the acquisition, a spokesperson for the new label revealed that they were willing to work with the legendary hip hop group to bring their catalog to streaming platforms. “We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to bring the catalog and the music back to the fans,” a spokesperson told Variety at the time. Now, as Kweli confirmed, De La Soul finally owns their music.
See Talib Kweli’s post below.