De La Soul’s Catalog Nets 12 Million U.S. Streams After Digital Release
The legendary rap trio's first six studio albums reached digital and streaming platforms for the first time and were re-introduced on physical formats on March 3.
The long, long wait for De La Soul’s early catalog to reach digital retail and streaming services yields big results for the group on the newest round of Billboard charts. After years of internal label conflicts and issues with sampling clearances, the trio’s first six studio albums became available across digital retail and streamers on March 3 and generated a swell of activity. In the tracking week of March 3 -9, the De La Soul catalog registered 12.5 million official on-demand U.S. song streams in the week ending March 9 and sold 28,000 albums (both digital download and physical copies combined), according to Luminate.
The six studio albums had long been out of print on physical formats in the U.S., and all were reintroduced on CD, vinyl and cassette on March 3.
De La Soul is comprised of Kelvin “Posnudos” Mercer, Vincent “Maseo” Mason and the late David “Trugoy the Dove,” Jolicoeur, who died on Feb. 12 at age 54. The trio formed in Long Island in 1988 and released its debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, on March 3, 1989, exactly 34 years before the early catalog’s digital and streaming debuts. In addition to 3 Feet High and Rising, the March 3 digital and streaming premiere included rollouts for De La Soul Is Dead (1991), Buhloone Mindstate (1993), Stakes Is High (1996), Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000) and AOI: Bionix (2001).
3 Feet is easily De La Soul’s biggest album for the week. The set returns to the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 8 with 26,000 equivalent album units. It previously spent 36 weeks on the list in 1989-90, including five frames at No. 1, helped by the hit single “Me, Myself and I,” which topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for one week in June 1989, and follow-up hits “Say No Go” (No. 32) and “Buddy” (No. 18).
Most of the 3 Feet activity this week – 21,000 units – comes from album sales, with 4,000 in streaming-equivalent album units and the remaining 1,000 balance from track-equivalent album units. 14,000 of the sales sum came from vinyl LP sales alone — across multiple variants. (One unit equals the following levels of consumption: one album sale, 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams for a song on the album.)
In addition to its top 10 re-entry on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, 3 Feet debuts at No. 4 on the Top Rap Albums chart, which began in 2004, and re-enters at No. 15 on the all-genre Billboard 200 for its 20th total week on the survey.
Unsurprisingly, “Me, Myself and I,” the trio’s biggest hit from their biggest album, leads the recap of De La Soul’s most streamed songs, with 1 million on-demand streams (including user-generated content [UGC], which does not count toward Billboard’s charts). More 3 Feet cuts, “The Magic Number,” which featured in the credits of the 2021 film Spider-Man: No Way Home, and “Eye Know,” rank second and third, respectively, with 618,000 clicks for the former and 511,000 streams for the latter. “Stakes Is High,” the title track of the trio’s 1996 album, lands in fourth place with 289,000 streams, while “Change in Speak,” another 3 Feet tune, rounds out the top five with 287,000 plays.