What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective
"Steinski (advertising writer, DJ, and record collector Steve Stein) produced his first record in 1983. In response to a nationwide remix contest by Tommy Boy Records, he and partner Double Dee (engineer and studio wizard Douglas DJ Franco) produced 'The Payoff Mix.' A panel of ten judges -- including Afrika Bambaataa, Shep Pettibone, Jellybean Benitez, and Arthur Baker -- unanimously chose the mix as the winner. Within two weeks 'The Payoff Mix' became a top 10 request on urban radio nationwide, but the release never saw official status and was subsequently bootlegged countless times. 'The Payoff Mix' became the first record in a series now known as The Lessons. Double Dee and Steinski followed up with cut-and-paste landmark Lesson Two: The James Brown Mix, which Fatboy Slim called 'the record that always gets the crowd going.' Then came Lesson 3: The History of Hip Hop. The series quickly became highly sought-after collectibles and led to homage records by DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, DJ Format, and others. Since The Lessons, Steinski has produced a variety of tracks, and this Illegal Art retrospective collects everything from his hip-hop narrative about the Kennedy assassination (originally a white-label promo, also issued as a flexi-disk for UK music magazine NME) to the 1998 remix of Afrika Bambaataa's 'Jazz' with Double Dee. Besides the completist archive, the release also includes the critically acclaimed 'Nothing To Fear: A Rough Mix,' an hour-long mash-up that was produced for Solid Steel/BBC London, described by Salon as, 'the closest thing to a masterpiece the genre has yet produced' and perhaps the most obvious precursor (along with The Lessons) to Girl Talk's Night Ripper."