De La Soul Stakes Is High 20th Anniversary Mixtape

Mixed by DJ Chris Read for Wax Poetics & WhoSampled

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When I first heard Stakes Is High, I was in…Brighton, on the U.K.’s South Coast. My father lived there at the time, and as a teenager building up her record collection, I would make the most out of my trips to visit him by also visiting the city’s various record spots such as The Wax Factor and Rarekind. It was at Resident Records in the North Laines that I picked up De La Soul’s Stakes Is High and upon my first listen, before I scoured the liner notes, I knew that something was different.

Where were the playful skits? Where were the endless gags? I found myself staring out the window feeling pensive rather than chuckling and dancing around my room.

And as it turned out, the record, released July 2, 1996, marked a pivotal moment for the Long Island trio. Parting ways with their long-time collaborator Prince Paul, the genius behind 3 Feet High & Rising’s seminal use of sampling, the album was the first to be produced mostly by the group themselves and has a rather more mature feel. Trugoy recently described the experience of producing the record themselves as an “empowering […] learning process,” as previously they had relied upon the guidance of external producers. One notable exception to this is of course the Jay Dee produced title track “Stakes Is High,” but for Maseo, Posdnuos, and Trugoy to take greater control and reflect the mood-shift of a rap group three albums deep was the perfect move after 1993’s Buhloone Mindstate.

De La Soul had spoken out before about social issues (“Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa”) and the state of rap music (“Who Do U Worship”), but this time they were shouting about it with, as the title suggests, a more serious tone and higher sense of urgency, which can be heard on tracks like “The Bizzness.” Despite having less commercial success at the time, the powerful, jazz-fuelled album was met with positive reviews and is now regarded as a classic of it’s era.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Stakes Is High, our friend Chris Read has crafted a mixtape of album tracks, remixes, and original sample material.

Listen up and enjoy!

Artwork by Leon Nockolds

Track list:

1. De La Soul – ‘Intro’
2. Milt Jackson & The Ray Brown Big Band – ‘Enchanted Lady’ (sampled in ‘Dinninit’)
3. De La Soul – ‘Dinninit’
4. Jan Hammer Group – ‘Peaceful Sundown’ (sampled in ‘Dog Eat Dog’)
5. De La Soul – ‘Dog Eat Dog’
6. Aretha Franklin – It Only Happens (When I Look At You) (sampled in ‘Long Island Degrees’)
7. De La Soul – ‘Long Island Degrees’
8. Craig Mack – ‘Get Down’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘The Bizness’)
9. De La Soul feat Common – ‘The Bizness’
10. Commodores – ‘High on Sunshine’ (sampled in ‘Sunshine’)
11. De La Soul – ‘Sunshine’
12. Bayete – ‘Free Angela’ (sampled in ‘Sunshine’)
13. Ahmad Jamal – ‘Swahililand’ (sampled in ‘Stakes is High’)
14. De La Soul – ‘Stakes is High’ 
15. De La Soul – ‘Stakes Is High (Jay Dee Remix)’
16. James Brown – ‘Mind Power’ (sampled in ‘Stakes is High’)
17. De La Soul feat Mos Def & Truth Enola – ‘Stakes is High (Remix)’
18. Walter Wanderley – ‘Summer Samba’ (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
19. Jimmy Spicer – ‘Adventures of Super Rhyme’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
20. Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick – La Di Da Di [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
21. De La Soul – ‘Supa Emcees’
22. Wilson Pickett – Get Me Back On Time, Engine #9 [Extract] (sampled in ‘Supa Emcees’)
23. De La Soul feat Mos Def – ‘Big Brother Beat’
24. Kurtis Blow – ‘These Are the Breaks’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘The Brakes’)
25. De La Soul – ‘The Brakes’
26. James Brown – Funky Drummer [Loop] (sampled in ‘Betta Listen’)27. De La Soul – ‘Betta Listen’
28. Jeff Beck – ‘Come Dancing’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Down Syndrome’)
29. James Brown – ‘Talkin Loud & Sayin Nothing’ [Loop] (sampled in ‘Down Syndrome’)
30. De La Soul – ‘Down Syndrome’
31. De La Soul feat Truth Enola – ‘Pony Ride’
32. Lou Donaldson – ‘Who’s Making Love’ (sampled in ‘Wonce Again Long Island’)
33. De La Soul – ‘Wonce Again Long Island’
34. Malcolm McLaren – ‘Hobo Scratch’ (sampled in ‘Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby’)
35. De La Soul feat Jazzyfatnastees – ‘Baby Baby Baby Baby Ooh Baby’
36. Chico Hamilton – ‘A Rose for Booker’ (sampled in ‘4 More’)
37. Jungle Brothers – ‘Jimmy Bonus Beat’ [Extract] (sampled in ‘4 More’)
38. De La Soul feat Zhane – ‘4 More’

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One Response

  1. No download? Want to bump this at the gym ;)

    – B.

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