Before there was Coldcut, Cut Chemist, Z-Trip, Kid Koala, Soulwax, or Girl Talk, there was one artist who pushed he boundaries of cut-and-paste urban music, a style that was a precursor to turntablism and mash-ups. New York’s Steve Stein, also know as Steinski, began releasing his influential collage hip-hop 12” singles in 1982-83, and is now the subject of a major double-CD career retrospective, What Does It All Mean?: 1983-2006, which drops May 26 on Illegal Art. The set includes a 20-page booklet with liner notes by Hua Hsu (The Wire, New York Times, Village Voice) and Steinski himself.

Steinski, along with partner Double Dee (Douglas DiFranco), co-produced the series of records known as “The Lessons,” “The Payoff Mix” (MP3), “Lesson 2 (The James Brown Mix)”, and “Lesson 3 (The History Of Hip-hop)” for Tommy Boy Records in the early 1980s. These analog tape cut-and-paste collages, still widely bootlegged (and wildly illegal), are generally acknowledged as three of the most influential works in the world of hip-hop and dance music production.

Steinski’s 1986 single, “The Motorcade Sped On,” was a collage of John F. Kennedy assassination news reports, and became a staple among the pre-rave music Wax Trax industrial-dance crowd in the late ’80s and early ’90s. More recently, Steinski was tapped by Stones Throw records to mix the 12” collage “Ain’t No Thing” for their release of The Third Unheard: Connecticut Hip Hop 1979-1983 compilation.

Steinski retains a cult following and is widely considered to be a major contributor to New York’s ’80s hip-hop and urban music revolution, which also includes the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Mantronix, Grandmaster Flash, The Bomb Squad, and others.

What Does It All Mean?: 1983-2006 Tracklisting
CD 1 (Retrospective)
1. The Payoff Mix (MP3)
2. Lesson 2 (James Brown Mix)
3. Lesson 3 (History of Hip Hop)
4. Jazz
5. Voice Mail (Sugar Hill Suite)
6. The Motorcade Sped On
7. It’s Up To You (Television Mix)
8. I’m Wild About That Thing
9. The Big Man Laughs
10. Vox Apostolica
11. Is We Going Under?
12. Ain’t No Thing
13. Everything’s Disappeared
14. Number Three On Flight Eleven

CD 2 (Nothing To Fear)
1. Tonight From NY Intro
2. Swingset
3. Opening Credits
4. Greatest Man Alive
5. The Id
6. Let’s Get It On
7. Hit The Disco
8. Lolita
9. Hot Spot
10. It’s A Funky Thing Pt. 1
11. Bboy Breakdown
12. B-beat Classic
13. Funk Construction
14. Them That’s Not
15. Swan Lake
16. Here We Come
17. Product Of The Environment
18. By Any Means Necessary
19. The Art Of Getting Jumped
20. I Like It Like That
21. Solid Air
22. Country Grammar
23. Let’s Get It On (Reprise)
24. Muscles
25. Easin’ In
26. It’s Time To Testify
27. The Acid Test
28. Silent Partner