De La Soul Ain’t Dead: On Chris Read’s Stakes is High Mix

Chris Daly takes a look at De La's Stakes is High, through the lens of Chris Read.
By    July 18, 2016

Chris Daly is nothing but deep cuts.

At this point, I assume the Plugs have Chris Read on their payroll. The man continues to immortalize the birthdays of their already immortal albums by virtue of some of the best mixtapes on the market. In celebration of De La Soul’s Stakes is High turning one year shy of legal drinking age, DJ Read has put together a “stellar mix of tracks from the LP, alternate versions, and original sample material” on behalf of Wax Poetics. The DJ Platurn approach of showcasing source material along side De La’s finished product has always been a good look and, perhaps more importantly, an excellent listen. Throwing in some deep cut remixes only enhances the affair, essentially showing you what you love, why you love it, and how other cats dig it, too.

Stakes is High is one of the trickier listens in De La’s catalog, arguably a darker, or at least more pessimistic direction than fans had come to expect. Times were strange, too, as that whole East Coast/West Coast flak was going down, and a new sound was emerging as Biggie, Pac, and Jay-Z rose to prominence.  Tracks like “Supa Emcees” and “The Bizness” take these issues to heart, and the album likely deserves more love than it received at the time. 
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