GZA Was Right The Whole Time

De La Soul in Memphis, 2009

"Tommy ain't my muthafuckin' boy/ when you fake moves on a nigga you employ"

Those are the opening lines from GZA's "Labels" off of the solo masterpiece Liquid Swords. 24 years later and that line is the tagline for what should be a celebration, but its definitely a bittersweet one. De La Soul's early catalog will finally see the light of the digital-age streaming days. Now we should be popping bottles and celebrating like we won a 'ship, right? Yea, we should, but there's not a celebratory bone in the body of De La Soul fans worldwide. Why? Because "TOMMY ain't my muthafuckin BOY". Tommy Boy Entertainment's streaming splits nets them 90% while it only nets De La Soul 10%.

Shit is brutal.

Now I understand TB having to pay for the samples and yada yada yada, but the fact that they didn't pay for the samples then because they had no faith that 3 Feet High And Rising was going to be the success that it was is on TB. True enough if there wasn't any sample clearances we wouldn't have the classics, but that oversight is on TB. In this day and age should TB get more than De La to recoup for the clearances? In my opinion, yes, but 90% to 10% is ridiculous. I know 50/50 will never happen, and De La being on the positive end isn't even in the realm of possibility. What do I think is fair? Personally, 95% artists 5% label, but that's the artist in me. In the actual world of crime I think 60/40 is great, but 65/35 would be more than fair as well. I just think De La should be rewarded with more than a mere 10% because of what they've meant to music and the Hip Hop culture. C'mon Tommy, be our muthafuckin' boy!


As of March 1st Tommy Boy Entertainment has postponed the release of their catalog to streaming services. They will negotiate better terms for De La, but want them to sign a disclosure agreement. De La Soul has NO INTENTIONS of doing so. Hellz yeah.

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