Screengrab from ​People’s Party with Talib Kweli​​, UPROXX.

Posdnuos and Maseo of De La Soul.

Screengrab from People’s Party with Talib Kweli, UPROXX.

De La Soul Talks Fight to Regain Control of Masters

As guests on podcast People’s Party with Talib Kweli, De La Soul discussed the effort it took to regain their back catalog.

De La Soul was commended for regaining control of their masters on a new episode of UPROXX’sPeople’s Party with Talib Kweli. Filmed live at Blue Note Jazz Festival in Napa Valley, members Posdnuos and Maseo explained their lengthy fight with former label Tommy Boy Records to gain control of their masters. Late member, Dave “Trugoy the Dove” Jolicoeur, died less than one month before the group’s back catalog hit DSPs.

“I’m going to be very candid and very real; it was like freeing the slaves but adding vagrancy laws,” Maseo explained about being frozen out by Tommy Boy. Maseo’s description alludes to DLS essentially being unable to monetize on their previous albums, including 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes Is High, although the trio were rumored to have rights to their works.

De La Soul On Getting Control Of Their Catalog & Why They Had To Fight For It | People's Party

“[The deal] was almost like giving me a house that I couldn’t do nothing with… the wordplay in the contracts,” he added. “I have a house I can live in, but I can’t sell it. I can’t control nothing [in it], but I can live inside of it. That just wasn’t going to work for me or my crew. It was another form of slavery, in my opinion.”

Maseo continued by sharing that his wife, Tina, was a vital part in his willingness to push forward with DLS reclaiming their music, also addressing faulty music business practices.

“The more I assessed this thing, we’re in a business where we are worth more dead than alive. So, it was really about negotiating that deal based on death and life. Knowing the realities of the business that we are in,” he said.

He ended the People’s Party teaser by calling out Tommy Boy Records founder, Tom Silverman.

“It was a tough decision to make, but God was on our side. My wife was on my side, and it worked out for the best,” he said. “It wasn’t even Tommy Boy that made it right. It was the new owners of the catalog that did. Tommy Boy… Tom Silverman would’ve never made it right.”

In 2021, Tommy Boy was sold to independent music company Reservoir Media for $100 million. Claiming the rights to the DLS master recordings, the company was determined to put the group’s early releases on streamers, which was achieved in March. "We can't believe this day is finally here," DLS said in a statement at the time, "and we are excited to be able to share our music with fans, old and new.”