De La Soul and Tommy Boy Records have been attempting to reach an agreement regarding the trio’s extensive catalog for several months. But according to a recent Instagram post, it looks like those negotiations have fallen flat.
On Thursday (August 8), Pos, Maseo and Dave issued a statement to their collective account and explained why they wouldn’t be cosigning their first six albums being released on any digital platforms, including 1989’s 3 Feet High & Rising, 1991’s De La Soul Is Dead, 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate and 1996’s Stakes Is High — all Tommy Boy releases.
Tommy Boy’s founder and CEO Tom Silverman still owns all of De La’s masters.
“Well friends, after 30 years of profiting from our music and hard work… and after 7 long months of stalled negotiations, we are sad to say that we’ve been unable to reach an agreement and earn Tommy Boy’s respect for our music/legacy,” the caption reads. “With some helpful consulting and long careful consideration, we’ve decided we will not do our 30+ years the disservice of settling on Tom Silverman’s terms. Tommy Boy says they are ‘not in the business of giving artists back their Masters.’
“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. Therefore, our catalog will not see the light of day by way of our involvement or consent. This means, if you see De La Soul music/albums available for streaming or purchase anywhere, BE AWARE, all parties involved WILL profit but De La Soul WILL NOT benefit or earn deservedly/fairly.”
The iconic New York-bred trio ended their explanation on a high note and thanked their fans for standing behind them.
“We really tried,” the post concluded. “More details to come. Nevertheless, our fans have/will keep our legacy alive! We appreciate and ask for your continued support. Onto new things, new music and more amazing respectful business relationships.”
Maseo reiterated to HipHopDX in all caps, “TOMMY BOY ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF GIVING PUBLISHING AND MASTERS!”
In February, Maseo opened up about the effects the whole ordeal has had on them during an interview with DX.
“There’s been a lot of pain and suffering through this,” he said. “To even take care of my family, I had to tour like a mother fucker. Do you know all the things I’ve missed because of shit like this? I’m not substantially living the way as it appears to be.”
De La’s situation prompted a “#TommyBoycott,” which was led by The Roots’ Questlove. Soon, fellow artists such as Nas, Pete Rock and A Tribe Called Quest’s Jarobi joined in, giving Maseo a little room to breathe.
“I’m through the hiccup,” he said. “The world knows. JAY-Z knows. Questlove knows. Ebro knows. Apple Music knows. Everybody knows! I really feel free at this point. I’m honestly ready to move on with my life. 30 years!?
“We already missed the download era. I already got my grey hairs [laughs]. I’m alright. I think what’s happening now that’s atypical De La, you get clowned now. It’s like, we don’t expect you to change. Get the fuck outta here now.”
In the wake of the #TommyBoycott, the label momentarily halted the release of De La’s digital catalog and continued negotiations but ultimately couldn’t resolve the issue.