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Steinski is Steve Stein, a Hip-Hop producer who achieved notoriety along with Doug DiFranco (Double Dee) in the early 1980’s for a series of sample-based collages known as the Lessons, which are still well-regarded today as early underground Hip-Hop classics. Although they never had a hit record, they proved highly influential for subsequent artists such as Coldcut, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, The Avalanches, and Girl Talk.

In 1983, Tommy Boy Records held a promotional contest, in which entrants were asked to remix the single Play That Beat, Mr. D.J. by G.L.O.B.E. and Whiz Kid (members of Afrika Bambaataa’s Soulsonic Force). By day, Double Dee worked in a professional music studio, while Steinski was a copy supervisor for Doyle Dane Bernbach; although they were older (27 and 32, respectively) and whiter than much of the Hip-Hop scene at the time, they were both Hip-Hop enthusiasts; Steinski, in particular, had been attending downtown rap clubs for years and had an extensive knowledge of Hip-Hop’s history.

Their contest entry, ‘Lesson 1 — the Payoff Mix’ was packed with sampled appropriations from other records — not only from early Hip-Hop records and from Funk and Disco records that were popular with Hip-Hop DJs, but with short snippets of older songs by Little Richard and The Supremes, along with vocal samples from sources as diverse as instructional tap-dancing records and Humphrey Bogart films. The jury, which included Afrika Bambaataa, Shep Pettibone, and ”Jellybean” Benetiz awarded Lesson 1 the first prize.


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