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De La Soul finally own the rights to their back catalogue, Talib Kweli says

The group's earlier music is not available on streaming services due to contract disputes with a previous rights holder

Talib Kweli has claimed De La Soul have acquired the rights to their master recordings following years of contract disputes.

Kweli shared the news via Instagram, after, he says, speaking to De La Soul's Maseo, accompanying the revelation with a clip of a February episode of the show 'Teen Titans', on which De La Soul made a guest episode.

“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 on Instagram.

He continued: "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."

The trio are yet to officially confirm the news themselves.

The apparent acquisition of the rights by the group comes after previous owner Tommy Boy was purchased by rights company Reservoir for £70 million earlier this year. That purchase meant Reservoir owned the rights to six of the group's albums including '3 Feet High And Rising', 'De La Soul Is Dead' and 'Buhloone Mindstate'.

Long-standing contract disputes over the rights have kept some of De La Soul's earliest work off streaming platforms, with Tommy Boy having previously attempted to make the music available for streaming and failing after the group alleged "unbalanced, unfair terms" relating to the contract. 

Speaking about the disagreement in 2019, a statement issued by the band said: "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 catalogue will not see the light of day by way of our involvement or consent."

It's not yet known if the latest update on the group acquiring rights to their masters means that all of their music will now come to streaming services soon, but the acquisition of Tommy Boy by Reservoir led to suspicions that this may be the case in June.

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