- 2 x LP
Stakes Is High is the fourth studio album by American hip hop group De La Soul. It was originally released on July 2, 1996, through Tommy Boy Records. The album marked a change in the group's sound and direction, as it was their first release not 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 is considered the group's darkest and most serious album.
Stakes Is High deals with many topics, including the state of hip-hop, the commercialization of hip-hop culture, and criticism of gangsta rap. Gangsta rapper 2Pac later retaliated on the song "Against All Odds" from his posthumous 1996 album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (as well as the unreleased song "Watch Ya Mouth" recorded during the same sessions). Naughty By Nature member Treach also took serious offense at the record, creating a feud that only died down after about a decade and a half after Stakes Is High was released.
Stakes Is High helped introduce rapper Mos Def to a wider audience, on the track "Big Brother Beat". Common also makes an appearance on "The Bizness".