You can easily spend this Valentine’s Day with a loved one, watching romances and eating chocolates, basking in flowers, waiting for dinner reservations to pop up. Or you could choose to spend this Valentine’s Day as a celebration of many people’s first love: music. What better call to celebration than listening to one of the pioneers of love and music? Well, with hip hop music, following the theme of love means celebrating with De La Soul.
And for 25 hours (since 11 a.m., EST today), you can do just that, thanks to the trio releasing their entire discography for free to download. That’s fucking right, De La put their entire discography up for grabs for absolutely free, as long as you provide an email and name on their official website. Newcomers to the hip hop group and longtime fans can rejoice in the love spinning today and listen to classic hip hop records like 3 Feet High and Rising, and one of the albums that really put J Dilla on the map, Stakes Is High.
“It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it,” De La Soul’s Posdnuos told Rolling Stone when they first announced the free catalog. “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.”
It’s a way of showing love, for sure. The group hasn’t been able to put some of their earlier albums on iTunes, thanks to the slew of samples it carries that were never cleared, so De La Soul hasn’t really strived through this digital age. The group plans on releasing the first single off their upcoming album, You’re Welcome, in the next couple of weeks, with the actual album dropping before this summer. This would be their first record since 2004’s The Grind Date.
De La Soul has been one of the pioneering groups in hip hop, bringing positivity into the atmosphere of the genre since 1989. They were originally pegged as hippies from their debut, 3 Feet High and Rising, which featured lyrics denouncing gang violence and gangsta rap, as well as having album artwork covered in flowers and bright colors, reminiscent of peacekeepers from earlier years.
Their later albums continued on the love theme, bringing a lighter side to hip hop with knowledgeable and intelligent lyrics, similar to a group that coincided with De La Soul’s career, A Tribe Called Quest. The crew’s second album, De La Soul Is Dead, was the first album to get a five mic rating in The Source. With later collaborations alongside Madlib, MF Doom, Redman, and multiple other rappers, the group gained popularity within the hip hop scene. They were recognized on a broader music spectrum, with nods from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, validating their previous albums as some of the most important of the ’90s. For the following years, they continued on a path of success, dropping gem after gem and keeping their faith of positivity in hip hop a constant statement throughout their career and content.
This Valentine’s Day, do the essential for your inner-being and listen to some of these classic albums. The group is allowing fans and newcomers to grab all of their previous efforts for free, while music heads and critics demand it. Do yourself a favor and spin some love — download some De La Soul. “De La Soul is for the Soul.”