De La Soul stopped by The Tonight Show to revisit their 1996 track “Stakes Is High” with the help of house band the Roots. The group gave a groove-laced rendition of the track, which comes off their fourth album of the same name.
Ahead of the performance, band members Posdnuos and Pasemaster Mase sat down with host Jimmy Fallon to discuss being able to finally release their albums on streaming services. Pasemaster Mase noted they’ve been trying to make it happen for “a good 15 years.” The duo reminisced about their early days, recalling how they met in school on Long Island.
“We were just having fun in Mase’s basement,” Posdnuos recalled of making the trio’s debut LP. “And it literally went from the basement to the studio because by the luck of the draw we had someone like Prince Paul.”
At the end of the interview, the musicians also reflected on losing 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.
De La Soul’s back catalog had been stuck in digital purgatory for years thanks to various issues, including the myriad of uncleared samples that defined the sound of De La Soul’s classic records, but made them a legal minefield when it came to making them available online.
The rights to the band’s catalog were also stymied in major label red tape from their time at Warner Bros. Records. In 2019, that seemed to get cleared away when De La Soul’s original label, Tommy Boy, regained control of the trio’s catalog — but 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.