This Anniversary Mix of De La Soul’s “Stakes Is High” Is the Bizness (Mixtape)

With the August 26 release date of their forthcoming album and the Anonymous Nobody approaching, De La Soul are also a hot topic of retrospective conversations these days. On July 2, the Long Island, New York trio’s fourth album, Stakes Is High, turned 20 and Heads have been celebrating the milestone with frequent spins of the classic LP. Today (July 12), yet another opportunity for a look back has presented itself, thanks to the good folks at Wax Poetics and WhoSampled, who’ve once again joined forces to present a mix of samples, alternative versions of the album’s material, and some LP versions of some of the Plugs’ best work.

20 Years Later, De La Soul Credit Dave For Their Shift In Sound On “Stakes Is High”

Curated by Chris Read, the same maniacal genius behind the recent Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde anniversary mix, today’s release features sample material from the likes of Jazz impresario Ahmad Jamal, namely his “Swahililand” sampled in the LP’s title track; the always acceptable samples of James Brown, whose “Talkin’ Loud & Sayin’ Nothing” is interpolated on De La’s “Down Syndrome” (which isn’t the icon’s only appearance on the album); as well as works by Chico Hamilton, the Commodores, Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick, Craig Mack, Jimmy Spicer, the Jungle Brothers, Lou Donaldson, and many others.

As Heads may recall, Stakes Is High signaled the first album in De La Soul’s discography which didn’t contain production from Prince Paul. As such, this mix is as much a celebration of Dave et al’s foray into producing as it is a celebration of sample culture itself.