EXCLUSIVE: De La Soul’s Music Finally Lands On DSPs—But Without Trugoy Here, It’s Bittersweet

Speaking to AllHipHop in what would become one of his final interviews, Trugoy The Dove revealed the best thing Prince Paul did for De La Soul was encourage them to fly on their own.

De La Soul suffered an insurmountable tragedy on February 12 when one-third of the pioneering group, Trugoy The Dove, died. It was a loss felt by countless people around the globe and thwarted what was supposed to be the one of the best years of De La Soul’s career. For decades, Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo had fought tirelessly with Tommy Boy Records over the masters to their first six albums. Because of their contentious battle, albums such as 1989’s 3 Feet High & Rising and 2000’s Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump were unavailable to stream. But in June 2021, Reservoir Media acquired the Tommy Boy catalog and put an end to that war.

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On Friday (March 3) at the magical hour of midnight ET, the missing De La Soul music was finally uploaded to DSPs. Hours before, De La Soul’s friends and peers—including producer Prince Paul and former Tommy Boy A&R Dante Ross—had gathered for a makeshift memorial for their fallen friend at Webster Hall in New York City. Hosted by Amazon Music, “The D.A.I.S.Y. Experience” was initially intended as nothing more than a celebration of their music—not a tribute.

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But evidently, the universe had other plans. Roughly two weeks prior to his death, Trugoy had been making the press rounds in anticipation for the big unveiling. During an interview with AllHipHop, one of his last, he talked about the potential of working with Prince Paul again, and there was a sense something incredible was coming down the pipeline.

“We have dabbled with that idea for many years,” he said. “Professionally, we’d love to see that happen. But with schedules and people’s personal lives, it’s hard to determine when that’ll happen. But it’s something we want to do. We would love to do another project with Paul. I think we’re at a place where we can all contribute some sort of innocence.

“We haven’t been around each other and so long, we can contribute some sort of freedom and create music again, and possibly do something amazing. I would love that for that to happen, and I think Paul knows that we want it to. It’s just figuring out when and letting it happen naturally.”

After all, Prince Paul and De La Soul created three incredible albums together—the aforementioned 3 Feet High & Rising, 1991’s De La Soul is Dead and 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate. But for their fourth effort, Stakes Is High, Prince Paul stepped back and encouraged Pos, Mase and Trugoy to take the reins. Up until the day he died, Trugoy believed that was one precisely what the group needed—despite the growing pains they experienced during the untethering.

“That time period was definitely difficult, sometimes frustrating, because we were butting into our own ideas and the direction we wanted it to go in regards to our career—not just music,” he said. “And I think we had to put our heads together and say, ‘OK, what do we want? The three of us?’ Not excluding Paul at all. But I think Paul realized, ‘Yeah, this is a turning point for these guys.’ It was almost like all or nothing. He knew we needed to be focused exactly on what we wanted and not allow anything to veer us off of that direction. He gave us that freedom, and it was the best thing that ever happened to us.

“Honestly, we’re indebted to Paul for that. Stakes Is High wouldn’t have been as meaningful as it is. The reason it turned out the way it did is because Paul was like, ‘Hey, man. You guys take the the bull by the horns and do what you got to do.’ And we did and it was the best thing that could happen for us. We’re thankful to him for that.”

All six albums are currently available on DSPs. Stream 3 Feet High & Rising above and Stakes Is High below. And never forget—3/3 is always the magic number.