It was a trippy trip back to the Daisy Age when De La Soul celebrated the long-awaited streaming release of its catalog — and the life of recently deceased member Trugoy the Dove — at New York’s Webster Hall on Thursday night.
The innovative, influential Long Island trio — which broadened the scope of hip-hop with their eclectic experimentation and quirky sensibility — had long been MIA from streaming services due to years of legal battles with their former label, Tommy Boy.
But after Reservoir Media purchased the Tommy Boy catalog, De La Soul’s first six studio albums — including their groundbreaking debut, 1989’s “3 Feet High and Rising” — finally became available to stream on Friday.
Fittingly, Amazon Music sponsored the long-awaited release party with an immersive event, the DA.I.S.Y. Experience, that brought together rap royalty such as KRS-One, Chuck D and Q-Tip, NYC DJ legends including Clark Kent, Red Alert and D-Nice, and old-school hip-hop heads who make it all feel like one big family reunion.
After performances by Queen Latifah (“U.N.I.T.Y.”) and Common (“The Light”), comedian Dave Chappelle led the countdown to the midnight streaming release as if it was New Year’s Eve.
“In just a few seconds, you have every opportunity to support these brothers and let ’em know what they mean to you,” he said. “These brothers are the big thing of some of the most beautiful things that happened in our culture.”
Of course, it was a bittersweet moment just a couple weeks after Trugoy the Dove (whose real name was David Jolicoeur) died at 54 on Feb. 12 after battling congestive heart failure in recent years.
De La Soul’s other members, Maseo (a k a Vincent Mason Jr.) and Posdunous (Kelvin Mercer), remembered their late partner in rhyme.
“Our hearts are heavy. But our heart is also light with sun from my brother David Jude Jolicoeur,” said Maseo, who recalled meeting Trugoy the Dove in Long Island. “We forged a relationship, became brothers, became more than brothers, became partners…and created an energy that everyone around the world has humbled us by respecting and loving. I am truly thankful for all of you who are here, and best believe, my n—-a Dave is looking down right now on everybody.”
“I usually have a lot of words to say, but I’m at a loss for words,” added Posdnuos. “My emotions are very displaced. My man is gone, but I appreciate y’all for all these years supporting [us].”
Then Posdunos reflected on when he moved from Brooklyn to Long Island in 1984.
“When I move to Long Island, I thought I was moving further away from my dream — which was being a part of this shit called hip-hop — but God that knew I was moving closer to it, you know what I mean?
“Much love to Long Island ’cause that’s where my tribe came together.”