Remix Tuesdays: De La Soul.

Remix Tuesdays is temporarily going biweekly, sorry for the lateness on today’s instalment. I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I want to do this feature every week.

“Stakes Is High” is a 1996 De La Soul single, produced by Jay Dee. It was released in support of De La’s album of the same name. Dilla uses a simple yet effective clap and snare combo for percussion, and works a dope, low key bass line for most of the track. The dope sax and piano enter every few bars, and the “vibes…vibrations” chant in the background blends in perfectly.

Dela is a Paris based producer who’s worked with rappers like Les Nubians, Blu and Aloe Blacc. He remixed “Stakes Is High” owe Andres at CDR some dap for tipping me off to this remix and to Dela’s producing talents. His remix works lighter, crisper drums, and delicate piano chord sequence. On the chorus and pre-chorus, Dela adds in a chaotic horn sample that blends smoothly into the beat used for the verses. Dela gives Plug 1 and 2 a little more space in his beat to flex verbally – there’s a bunch of adlibs I never noticed on the original. It all adds us to a dope jazzy beat that sounds like it could be vintage No I.D. circa Resurrection or Large Professor circa Illmatic.

The video features De La as guests on a talk show. They walk around New York, do laundry, rake leaves, wash cars and play basketball. Watch for Q-Tip’s cameo. Is that Phife at 1:55 as a coach? Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Common are in this too.


I fell in love with “Stakes Is High” in 11th grade and the beat brings back memories for me the second I hear that Ahmad Jamal sample. But the Dela remix is a fresh spin on the track. I need to hear more from this cat.

Download: De La Soul – Stakes Is High
De La Soul – Stakes Is High (Dela Remix)
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  1. Berto

    This is beautiful. “Stakes is High” was one of the first hip-hop tracks I really, really fell in love with, but the new instrumental really gives it a more reflective, wizened vibe.

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