Stetsasonic Was The First Hip Hop Band In History
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Stetsasonic Was the First Hip Hop Band in History

The OG hip hop band that came straight outta Brooklyn during the early ’80s, Stetsasonic was comprised of Daddy-O, DBC, Wise, Frukwan, and Prince Paul.

At a time when hip hop was just starting to gain mainstream recognition, Stetsasonic’s first release, “On Fire,” quickly became a hit in the New York City club scene and helped to establish the group as a major force in the burgeoning rap culture.

The group followed it up with a series of successful albums and singles, including “Go Stetsa I” and “Talkin’ All That Jazz,” that helped to solidify their place as one of the most innovative and influential rap acts of the 1980s.

Stetsasonic’s innovative use of live instrumentation set them apart from other early hip hop acts and helped establish them as the first hip hop band in history. While many of their contemporaries relied on pre-recorded beats and samples, Stetsasonic incorporated live drums, bass, and keyboard into their music, giving their songs a unique sound that was unlike anything else in the genre.

Prince Paul: I think the best part of it was just making music and being with likeminded people, with likeminded energy. You know, we wanted to make great songs, and the learning process of how to construct a song. The intro, the hook, the ending. Learning all that. And also learning about the business, how things are actually run. That was all great. And having Daddy-O and Delite as mentors was great. I was a lot younger than those guys. I was a teenager and they were in their mid-20s. I also learned a lot of life things. And what to do and what not to do also [laughs]. What I took away from Stetsasonic is that being in a large group — we were six or seven deep — a lot of times you wouldn’t get too much say in what’s done. Everything is somewhat democratic, even if someone is running things.

Prince Paul | Interviewed by Brian Coleman, at the Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival. Hartford, CT.

Their pioneering approach to incorporating live instrumentation into hip hop paved the way for many artists who followed in their footsteps (namely The Roots) and helped to broaden the appeal of the genre. By blending elements of funk, jazz, and soul with hip hop, Stetsasonic created a sound that was ahead of its time and laid the foundation for the development of new sub-genres of hip hop that would emerge in the years to come.

Although they may not be as well known today as some of the other pioneering hip hop groups of the 1980s, Stetsasonic’s contributions to the genre should not be overlooked. Their innovative approach to incorporating live instrumentation into hip hop and their commitment to addressing important social issues in their lyrics helped to shape the direction of the genre and paved the way for many of the artists who followed in their footsteps.

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