Steve "Steinski" Stein is a music collector, advertising writer, and DJ of the producer school (as opposed to the scratch school). In 1983
he established his presence in the world of the remix
with audio engineer Douglas "Double Dee" DiFranco in the creation of "The Payoff Mix
" for Tommyboy Records' "Hey Mr. DJ Play That Beat Down By Law Switch the Lick Mastermix Contest
," for which they remixed G.L.O.B.E & Whiz Kid
's "Play That Beat (Mr. DJ)
"The Payoff Mix" soon became the first in a trilogy of songs known as The Lessons with the addition of the second, "Lesson Two: The James Brown Mix," and third, "Lesson Three: The History of Hip Hop." The three Lessons have been remarkably influential albums, inspiring many younger DJs who would grow to eclipse Steinski, including Fatboy Slim, Cut Chemist, and DJ Shadow among others. What made the Lessons truly stand apart from most other megamixes of the day was the attention to lyrical continuity. While most mixers of the day just tried to keep the beats steady, Double Dee and Steinski fired sample after sample into the mix on top of the beat. This gave the Lessons a pleasantly light, funny attitude, although Steinski would later prove that he was capable playing it straight with "The Motorcade Sped On," a mix about the JFK assassination.
What made a Steinski mix so great also became its greatest weakness. Many of Steinski's vocal samples came from folks like Humphrey Bogart, John Kennedy, and Otis Redding, i.e. samples nigh impossible to clear legally. As a result, much of Steinski's most influential work has never seen commercial release, but has suffered heavy bootlegging. The Lessons were almost ready to be released legally a few years ago when the market was destroyed by a group of bootleggers who released a series of legal-looking bootlegs called "The Ultimate Lessons" (currently on its third volume), which contained bootlegs of Double Dee and Steinski's original Lessons series, as well as bootlegs of tribute Lessons made later by other DJs. While Steinski wishes the bootlegs didn't exist, he seems to have surrendered to the fact that there really isn't too much he can do about the whole thing.
Steinski's live mixing incorporates little of the fancy manipulation and party tricks associated with much of modern DJing, preferring to stick to the radio's one-song-ends-the-next-song-begins DJ format. He remains, however, a wizard in the studio.