With the upcoming 25th anniversary of the trio’s debut album in March, Rolling Stone reports that De La Soul will make its entire back catalog available for free download tomorrow (February 14) to celebrate the occasion in advance. The downloads will be available exclusively on the group's website.
The Native Tongues group’s 3 Feet High and Rising, released in 1989, featured production exclusively from Big Daddy Kane collaborator Prince Paul and helped launch De La Soul’s acclaimed career despite the widespread inclusion of uncleared samples.
The group’s upcoming promotional campaign is anniversary themed with the downloads scheduled to be made available for a 25 hour period beginning at 11 a.m. EST on Valentine’s Day. Speaking with Rolling Stone, De La emcee Posdnuos explained the motivation behind the rollout. "It's about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it," he said. "Its been too long where our fans haven't had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them."
Posdnuos’ allusion to a lack of access refers to the group’s inability to feature much of their music on digital platforms such as iTunes Rolling Stone reports. The prevalence of uncleared samples in the group’s music has barred its inclusion on digital retailers for years. "It's been a trying journey," Posdnuos told Rolling Stone. "We've been blessed to be in the Library of Congress, but we can't even have our music on iTunes. We've been working very hard to get that solved." In 2011, De La Soul’s debut was honored as one of 25 records inducted to the Libary of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Of the 25 albums, 3 Feet High and Rising was the most contemporary and was listed alongside releases from Al Green and a band the Hip Hop group sampled themselves in Steely Dan.
In addition to the digital release of their back catalog, Posdnuos also described plans to release new music via the group’s website in the coming weeks, adding that they’ve been motivated to maintain a more consistent release schedule. "We're just getting in the mode of constantly giving people new music," the rapper said. "I'll be the first to say that not everyone can do it. You can put out a new mixtape every week, but it can dilute what you're putting out because you haven't had enough time to see what's going on with your life to write something from a different angle. With us, we've sat a long time without releasing an album. It's high time we start releasing a bunch of stuff because it's there."
The emcee added that apprehension about the quality of their new music has slowed its potential release. "We have tons of music, but we're our own worst critics," Posdnuos said. "Certain groups have too many 'yes men.' In our group, we have too many 'no men.' When we look back on some of the stuff we have, we're like, 'Yo, we need to just put this out.' The album is still called You're Welcome, but we also have this whole other album that we're working on that…Wooo, I wish I could talk about it."
The group first announced the You’re Welcome album as far back as 2009, as reported by HipHopDX. In 2012, two members of De La Soul released a concept album in the form of First Serve. Last year, the group released a Wu-Tang Clan honoring track called “Get Away.” The video for “Get Away” can be streamed below.