Billed by the Phoenix New Times as “the premier live hip-hop band in town,” The Stakes have become an institution in Arizona’s local music scene. The band reflects the diverse colors and experiences of the young and the revolutionary, with a realism and authenticity that brings together their unique brand of hip-hop. Their stories and visions come to life onstage through the collaboration of self-made rappers, university-educated performers, cover artists, and gospel musicians, creating an intoxicating blend of energy that will bring you to your feet.
The cultural cross-section represented by The Stakes’ lineup is reflected in their music, which draws from influences ranging from hip-hop classics like The Roots and Tribe Called Quest to soul and pop icons such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to jazz and even classical composers.
Recently, The Stakes were honored to record with the legendary Tower of Power horn section, which has recorded on more than 300 albums including countless A-list acts. This recording and music video serve a fundraiser, with 100% of proceeds benefiting Chicanos Por La Causa’s charitable services.
The Stakes have performed at cultural institutions across Arizona, including the Tempe Center for the Arts and The Nash, as well as a number arts and culture festivals including the Goodyear Lakeside (as the headline act), Tempe Arts, Chandler Jazz, Viva Phoenix, Apache Lake, Arizona Hip-Hop, and Sidepony music festivals as well as the ASU Homecoming celebration and Tour de Fat. In 2017, The Stakes won the Phoenix New Times March Music Madness Battle of the Bands. Most recently, they performed a weekly residency at the Monorchid on Roosevelt Row, which featured a different local guest artist every week and lasted from October of 2019 until the COVID lockdowns in March.
AKA “Sassy” of Sassy and the Sneak Attack, singer-songwriter Venessa Mendez is influenced by a variety of genres including jazz, hip hop, soul and funk. In addition to her performances at the best of Arizona’s music festivals, Venessa has opened for many national acts, including Roger Cline and the PeaceMakers, 50 cent, and Gill-Scott. Venessa and her guitarist bring their talents to HTC’s Pavilion opening for The Stakes on January 14.