July 04, 2020

De La Soul "Stakes Is High" (7/2/96) + "Stakes & Potatoes"

The Hip-Hop landscape has changed dramatically since De La Soul's debut... yet with each album, the trio have managed to reinvent themselves.... Stakes Is High departs from the trio's previous creations both in style and substance... This is an album that is instead the group's most outwardly responsive... De La Soul's mission this time is to serve as a counterpoint to the "players" who have simply dominated Hip-Hop over the last few years with images and slogans centering on violence, materialism and money... Their lyrics are devoid of heavy symbolism, and for the first time they employ outside production -- actions that edge them closer to the rest of the pack... They've never done the same album or the same song twice, and as difficult as it may be to accept, Stakes Is High is just a different type of album for them. Consider it a slight dip in the path De La travels to possibly becoming the greatest Hip Hop group of all time. - Rap Pages, July 1996. As a bonus, below is the album's sampler cassette, which they titled "Stakes & Potatoes." It features a few snippets, full versions of both tracks on the 12" single, as well as drops from Common, Zhane, Mos Def, Biz Markie, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Busta Rhymes. The album was released on July 2, 1996... and if you ask me, it's still a better album than "It Was Written," released the same day, by Nas. Fight me!!