Stakes Is High is De La Soul's fourth full-length album, released on July 2, 1996. The album marked a change in the group's sound and direction as it was their first release not to be produced in collaboration with Prince Paul.
Stakes Is High dealt with many topics, including the state of hiphop, the commercialization of the hip-hop culture and criticism towards gangsta rap. This would cause great contempt with the late gangsta rapper 2Pac who would later retaliate on the song "Against All Odds" from his posthumous 1996 album The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Naughty By Nature also took serious offense to the record, creating a feud that has only recently died down.
Stakes Is High helped introduce rapper Mos Def to a wider audience, on the cut "Big Brother Beat". Common also makes an appearance on "The Bizness".