For one day only, hip-hop legends De La Soul are making their entire catalog available for free online in a gesture that is one of good will. The music will be made available today, Feb. 14, for 25 hours to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the group's debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising.
De La Soul, like AC/DC and The Beatles before them, are also well-known for the fact that much of their catalog is not available (legally) online. The reasons for the absence stems from the group's sample-heavy tracks, each of which needs to be cleared by the original rights holder. You can thank the Grand Upright case for that. It's not immediately clear what legal wrangling allowed for this giveaway to happen, or even if the tracks will retain all of their original elements.
The situation is similar to the announcement earlier in the week that The Wonder Years would finally be making its way to DVD. That show's heavily licensed soundtrack required getting permission for each and every track. The version that appears on Netflix has an alternate soundtrack.
De La Soul member Posdnuos told Rolling Stone: "It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it … It's been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”
Remember, starting at 11 a.m., the albums go up for only 25 hours, and then they disappear from the Internet forever. That's definitely how it works.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.