Photo: Sven Volkens

De La Soul + The Roots Perform On The Tonight Show: Look + Listen

With accompaniment by house band the Roots, De La Soul visited by The Tonight Show to perform their 1996 track “Stakes Is High.”

Ahead of the groove-laced rendition of the iconic track from the act’s fourth LP of the same name,  band members Posdnuos and Pasemaster Mase sat down with host Jimmy Fallon to discuss being able to finally release their repertoire on streaming services.

Mentioning their attempt to make it happen for “a good 15 years,” the duo reminisced about their early days, stating “We were just having fun in Mase’s basement,” Posdnuos recalled of making the trio’s debut full length. “And it literally went from the basement to the studio because by the luck of the draw we had someone like Prince Paul.” 

The musicians reflected on the loss of fellow band member Trugoy the Dove, who died in February. “I want to thank Dave,” Pasemaster Mase said, encouraging the audience to chat “Thank you Dave!” along with him. 

Due to a myriad of issues – including a variety of uncleared samples that defined De La Soul’s classic records – the bands back catalog had been stuck in digital abeyance for years.

The rights to the original trio’s catalog were also blocked by major label red tape during their time at Warner Bros. Record and when their original label regained control of the trio’s catalog in 2019, troubled negotiations over the streaming rights led to a rift with Tommy Boy before any music was released online.

After a two-year battle with Tommy Boy Records, music rights company Reservoir Media acquired Tommy Boy in June 2021, and eventually, De La Soul retrieved their masters the following August.

De La Soul’s 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising, 1991’s De La Soul Is Dead, 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate, 1996’s Stakes Is High, 2000’s Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump and 2001’s AOI: The Bionix are now available on streaming services. 

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Sven Volkens