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After Decades of Legal Battles, De La Soul Reportedly Regains Ownership of Their Masters

Trugoy, Maseo, and Posdnuos of De La Soul perform during the 2018 Grandoozy Festival at Overland Park Golf Course on September 16, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder for WireImage via Getty Images.

The De La Soul catalog may finally be heading to streamers.

Two years after the decades-long feud between De La Soul and their former label, Tommy Boy Records, went (very) public, a resolution appears to have been reached. And if the report is accurate, it officially puts The Plugs in control of their own legacy.

On Saturday, Talib Kweli surfaced with the scoop. “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,” Kweli wrote in an Instagram post (see below,) claiming the word came down from Maseo earlier in the day. “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,” Kweli added.

The news arrives in the wake of Tommy Boy’s recent acquisition by Reservoir, a New York-based music rights company that paid $100 million for the catalogs of Tommy Boy, Amherst Records, Harlem Music, and Halwill Music, at the beginning of the summer. The rights to De La’s first six albums were reportedly included in the more than 6,000 song catalog purchased by Reservoir. And since the announcement of the catalog’s acquisition, Reservoir has been clear about its intention to mend the mismanagement of the group’s music. “We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to the bring the catalog and the music back to the fans,” a Reservoir rep told Variety in the announcement of their deal with Tommy Boy.

So far, the group itself has remained quiet about the news. Okayplayer has reached out to members of De La Soul and their team for comment, but has yet to receive a response. Should it prove to be the case, the bulk of the group’s back catalog could be landing on streamers in the not too distant future. Hold tight for updates in the days ahead.

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