A Political Statement in Hip Hop
De La Soul’s fourth studio album, “Stakes Is High,” released in 1996. It marked a significant shift in the group’s sound and lyrical content. After gaining commercial success with their first three albums, De La Soul decided to take a more politically charged approach with their latest release.
The title track, “Stakes Is High,” is a commentary on the state of hip hop and society as a whole. The group questions the commercialization and commodification of hip hop. They also question the influence of the media on young people and the lack of authentic voices in the genre. The lyrics are poignant and thought-provoking, challenging the listener to think critically about the world around them.
Music and Style
The album’s production is also notable, with the group taking on most of the production duties themselves, along with contributions from Jay Dee, AKA J Dilla, and other producers. The beats are gritty and raw, with a focus on live instrumentation and samples from a wide range of sources. The production complements the political themes of the album, creating a cohesive sonic experience that reinforces the message of the lyrics.
Beyond the title track, the album features a range of other standout tracks. These include “Sunshine,” a critique of the music industry’s exploitation of female artists, and “Supa Emcees,” a celebration of the art of hip hop and the power of lyrical skill.
In many ways, “Stakes Is High” was ahead of its time. It was a bold statement in a genre that was becoming increasingly commercialized and formulaic.It served as a precursor to the socially conscious hip hop that would come to dominate the late 90s and early 2000s. This influence can still be felt in hip hop music today. The album’s themes and messages are just as relevant today as they were when it was released. This makes it a timeless classic in the hip hop canon.
In conclusion, De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High” is a political statement in hip hop that challenges the listener to think critically about the world around them. The album’s production and lyrics are cohesive and thought-provoking, creating a powerful listening experience that stands the test of time.