By Ethan Smith
July 12, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Stakes Is High

B

Hip-hop’s trippiest trio take an unfortunate turn for the conservative on Stakes Is High, album No. 4. Musically, they’ve traded in their gorgeously weird jazz-based soundscapes for sparser, straight-ahead beats. And while they’ve always had a cynical streak, Posdnuos, Trugoy, and Maseo now frequently verge on utter joylessness. Still, De La Soul prove they can snap on new-jack-rap poseurs as effectively as they did on the old ones: ”While you others represent, I present my rep.” B

Stakes Is High

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