Stakes Is High

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Stakes Is High
Studio album by De La Soul
Released June 18, 1996
Recorded 1995-1996
Genre Hip hop
Length 68:19
Label Tommy Boy
01149
Producer De La Soul, Spearhead X, Skeff Anselm, O.Gee, Jay Dee
De La Soul chronology
Clear Lake Audiotorium
(1994)
Stakes Is High
(1996)
Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump
(2000)
Singles from Stakes Is High
  1. "Stakes Is High"
    Released: 1996
  2. "Itzsoweezee (HOT)"
    Released: 1996
  3. "4 More"
    Released: 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]
Entertainment Weekly B [2]
RapReviews.com 10/10 stars [3]
Robert Christgau B+ [4]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars [5]

Stakes Is High is De La Soul's fourth full-length album, released on June 18, 1996. The album marked a change in the group's sound and direction as it was their first release not to be produced in collaboration with Prince Paul. Stakes Is High was mainly produced by the group themselves with additional tracks provided by Jay Dee, DJ Ogee, Spearhead X and Skeff Anslem. It received mostly strong reviews but little commercial success.

History[edit]

Stakes Is High marked the first time the group did not collaborate with long-time producer Prince Paul on an album.

After the album's release, the group toured extensively and remained rather quiet before returning in 2000 with the first installment in their "Art Official Intelligence" series, Mosaic Thump.

Stakes Is High dealt with many topics, including the state of hiphop, the commercialization of the hip-hop culture and criticism towards gangsta rap. This would cause great contempt with the late gangsta rapper 2Pac who would later retaliate on the song "Against All Odds" from his posthumous 1996 album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Naughty By Nature also took serious offense to the record, creating a feud that has only recently died down.

Stakes Is High helped introduce rapper Mos Def to a wider audience, on the cut "Big Brother Beat". Common also makes an appearance on "The Bizness".

Interludes[edit]

Like other De La Soul albums, Stakes Is High has a running theme, which in this case is the group's concern for the state of rap, as well as the current state of hip hop culture and how it is regarded in general. The following sound clips are featured:

  • The introduction track begins with various clips of interviews, the interviewees describing where they were when they first heard the influential rap album Criminal Minded.
  • At the end of track 9, "Long Island Degrees", a 'redneck' describes why he hates rap music ("There's no music in it. It's just niggers talking.")
  • At the end of track 10, "Betta Listen", there is a clip of Posdnuos and Maseo discussing an error in communication about a club.
  • At the end of track 15, "Pony Ride", excerpt from documentary Crumb in which Charles Crumb discusses his struggle living on the streets, describing his periods of optimism and depression. While describing this situation, he remarks "stakes is high".
  • The beginning and end of track 16, "Stakes is High" feature sound clips of people playing dice. The O.J. Simpson trials are discussed by a man nearby.
  • The clip at the end of the final track, "Sunshine", closes the album with a young man saying "Yo, when I first heard 3 Feet High and Rising, I was" and then the clip is cut out in similar fashion to "Fight the Power" in Public Enemy's legendary album, Fear of a Black Planet. 3 Feet High and Rising being De La Soul's first release and a very influential hip-hop album, held in a similarly high regard as Criminal Minded, which is discussed at the beginning of the album.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   De La Soul 2:35
2. "Supa Emcees"   De La Soul 3:40
3. "The Bizness" (feat. Common) De La Soul 5:41
4. "Wonce Again Long Island"   De La Soul 3:39
5. "Dinninit"   Spearhead X 4:20
6. "Brakes"   De La Soul 4:06
7. "Dog Eat Dog"   De La Soul 3:40
8. "Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby"   De La Soul 2:10
9. "Long Island Degrees"   De La Soul 3:27
10. "Betta Listen"   De La Soul 4:28
11. "Itzsoweezee (HOT)"   De La Soul* 4:55
12. "4 More" (feat. Zhane) O. Gee, De La Soul* 4:18
13. "Big Brother Beat" (feat. Mos Def) Skeff Anselm 3:42
14. "Down Syndrome"   De La Soul 3:28
15. "Pony Ride" (feat. Truth Enola) De La Soul 5:26
16. "Stakes Is High"   Jay Dee, De La Soul* 5:30
17. "Sunshine"   De La Soul 3:39

*Co-producer

Additional credits[edit]

# Title Notes
1 "Intro"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "Sing a Simple Song" by Jackson 5

2 "Supa Emcees"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "La Di Da Di" by Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh
Sample: "Summer Samba" by Walter Wanderley
Sample: "Adventures of Super Rhyme" by Jimmy Spicer
Sample: "Run's House" by Run D.M.C.
Sample: "Engine No. 9" by Wilson Pickett

3 "The Bizness"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, L. Lynn

4 "Wonce Again Long Island"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "Who's Making Love" by Lou Donaldson

5 "Dinninit"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, X. Hargrove, M. Jackson
Sample: "Enchanted Lady" by Milt Jackson

6 "Brakes"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, R. Hodby, C. Jimenez, L. Mack
Sample: "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow
Sample: "P.S.K. (What Does It Mean)" by Schooly D
Sample: "It's Your Rock" by Fantasy Three
Sample: "Children's Story" by Slick Rick

7 "Dog Eat Dog"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "Peaceful Sundown" by Jan Hammer

8 "Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Additional Vocals: Jazzyfatnastees
Sample: "She's Looking Like a Hobo" by Malcolm McLaren

9 "Long Island Degrees"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "Before I Rest" by Les McCann
Sample: "It Only Happens (When I Look at You)" by Aretha Franklin

10 "Betta Listen"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "The Outside Man" by Jimmy Bee

11 "Itzsoweezee (HOT)"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "Hot Dis Year" by Dirtsman

12 "4 More"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, G. Scott, N. Hall, M. Small, E. Matthew, D. Payne
Sample: "Jimmy's Bonus Beats" by Jungle Brothers
Sample: "A Rose for Booker" by New Dynamic Chico Hamilton Quintet
Sample: "Never Give You Up" by Sharon Redd

13 "Big Brother Beat"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, D. Beze, S. Anselm

14 "Down Syndrome"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason
Sample: "Talkin' Loud and Saying Nothing" by James Brown

15 "Pony Ride"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, S. Preston

16 "Stakes Is High"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, J. Yancey
Sample: "Mind Power" by James Brown
Sample: "Swahililand" by Ahmad Jamal

17 "Sunshine"

Songwriters: K. Mercer, D. Jolicoeur, V. Mason, L. Richie, T. McClary
Sample: "High on Sunshine" by The Commodores
Sample: "Free Angela" by Bayete
Sample: "Blow Your Head" by Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, Vincent. De La Soul: Stakes Is High > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  2. ^ Smith, Ethan (12 July 1996). "Stakes Is High Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Matson, Andrew (20 July 2002). "De La Soul :: Stakes is High". rapreviews.com. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "De La Soul". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Sprague, David (8 August 1996). "Stakes Is High". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 

4. Wenner, Jane S. Artists - De La Soul Rolling Stone. 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011