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Stetsasonic: The Pioneers of Hip-Hop Bands (video)

Did you know that Stetsasonic, the influential hip hop group from Brooklyn, was one of the first acts to perform with a full band and use live instrumentation in their recordings? This groundbreaking approach set them apart from their contemporaries and paved the way for the evolution of hip hop music. With their innovative sound and genre-blending style, Stetsasonic became pioneers of the old school hip hop era.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stetsasonic originated in Brooklyn, New York City in 1981.
  • They combined beat-boxing, sampling technology, and live band performance to create their unique sound.
  • The band’s use of live instrumentation influenced future hip hop groups like The Roots.
  • Stetsasonic’s discography includes albums like “On Fire,” “In Full Gear,” and “Blood, Sweat & No Tears.”
  • Their legacy in the music industry continues to inspire new generations of artists.

History of Stetsasonic

Stetsasonic, a legendary hip hop band hailing from Brooklyn, New York City, has a rich history that shaped the landscape of the music industry. Originally known as The Stetsasonic 3 MC’s, the group consisted of Daddy-O, Delite, and Crown Supreme. Inspired by their passion for hip hop and their desire to bring something fresh to the scene, they later adopted the name Stetsasonic the Hip-Hop Band and expanded their lineup to include Wise The Human Mix Machine, Prince Paul, the Devastating Beat Creator (DBC), drummer Bobby Simmons, and Frukwan.

In 1986, Stetsasonic signed with Tommy Boy Records and released their debut album, “On Fire,” which marked their emergence onto the hip hop scene. Incorporating beat-boxing, dynamic live instrumentation, and their signature fusion of genres, the album received mixed reviews, but it set the stage for their subsequent success.

Building on the foundation laid by their debut, Stetsasonic unleashed their sophomore album, “In Full Gear,” in 1988. This critically acclaimed release showcased their mastery of live instrumentation and cemented their status as pioneers of the genre. The seamless blend of hip hop, R&B, jazz, and reggae captured the attention of listeners and critics alike, solidifying their place in music history.

Stetsasonic continued to push boundaries with their third and final studio album, “Blood, Sweat & No Tears,” released in 1991. This transformative album demonstrated their evolution as artists and explored deeper themes, resonating with fans and earning them further critical acclaim.

“Stetsasonic’s use of live instrumentation and their mastery of diverse musical genres set them apart from their peers, establishing them as a trailblazing force in hip hop.” – Music Critic

While Stetsasonic’s use of live instrumentation was distinctive and groundbreaking, their rap-show format sometimes limited their ability to fully showcase their unique sound. Despite this, their impact on the industry was undeniable, influencing the trajectory of hip hop and inspiring future generations of artists.

Following the disbandment of Stetsasonic, individual members pursued solo careers and ventured into various creative endeavors. Their artistic journeys contributed to the broader cultural landscape, ensuring the legacy of Stetsasonic lives on.

Stay tuned for Section 3 where we explore Stetsasonic’s discography!

Stetsasonic Discography

Stetsasonic, the legendary hip hop band, has an impressive discography that perfectly captures their unique sound and musical innovation. With three studio albums, a collection of hit singles, and two EPs, Stetsasonic has left an indelible mark on the hip hop scene.

The band’s journey began with their debut album, “On Fire” (1986), which set the foundation for their future success. While it received mixed reviews, it showcased Stetsasonic’s raw talent and laid the groundwork for their experimentation with live instrumentation.

Their sophomore album, “In Full Gear” (1988), is widely regarded as a classic in the genre. With its infectious beats, captivating lyrical flows, and the harmonious fusion of different musical genres, the album solidified Stetsasonic’s position as musical trailblazers.

Singles and EPs

In addition to their studio albums, Stetsasonic released a series of impactful singles throughout their career. Songs like “Go Stetsa I” and “Talkin’ All That Jazz” became instant hits and further solidified the band’s reputation as pioneers of the hip hop genre.

Complementing their album releases, Stetsasonic also gifted fans with two noteworthy EPs. The first, “People in the Neighborhood 1991-1994”, showcased their evolution as a band and their exploration of new musical elements. The second EP, “(Now Y’All Giving Up) Love”, captivated listeners with its infectious energy and thought-provoking lyrics.

Stetsasonic’s discography is a testament to their musical prowess and their tireless commitment to pushing the boundaries of hip hop. Their innovative use of live instrumentation and their ability to seamlessly blend diverse musical styles have left an enduring legacy in the world of hip hop.

Influence and Legacy

Stetsasonic’s innovative use of live instrumentation in hip hop paved the way for future artists and bands to incorporate live instruments into their music. By integrating various genres such as R&B, jazz, and reggae, Stetsasonic expanded the sound and appeal of hip hop, pushing its boundaries and challenging conventional norms.

Stetsasonic is widely recognized as an influential group in shaping the jazz rap genre. They seamlessly merged the elements of jazz and hip hop in their music, introducing a refreshing and unique sound that captivated audiences. Their talent for combining intricate jazz melodies with the rhythmic essence of hip hop created a new musical frontier.

The band’s groundbreaking contributions to the genre have been acknowledged by both critics and fellow musicians. They were instrumental in diversifying and evolving the hip hop landscape, inspiring artists to explore new avenues of musical expression. Stetsasonic’s masterful fusion of live instrumentation and hip hop laid the foundation for future acts to experiment with sounds, styles, and genres.

One of the notable bands influenced by Stetsasonic is The Roots. The Roots adopted the use of live instrumentation and expanded upon Stetsasonic’s groundwork, furthering the acceptance and integration of live music in hip hop. The innovation and artistry of Stetsasonic’s approach continue to resonate and shape the genre to this day.

Stetsasonic’s influential legacy not only solidified their place in hip hop history but also transformed the perception of what hip hop could be. Their unmatched creativity and boundary-pushing spirit played a pivotal role in expanding the horizons of the genre, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry.


Stetsasonic, the innovative and influential hip hop band from Brooklyn, has left a remarkable legacy in the music industry. With their pioneering use of live instrumentation, they revolutionized the hip hop genre and paved the way for future bands like The Roots.

What set Stetsasonic apart was their ability to blend different genres, such as R&B, jazz, and reggae, seamlessly into their music. This unique approach, known as jazz rap, expanded the sound and appeal of hip hop, making Stetsasonic a true game-changer.

Despite rumors of disbandment, Stetsasonic continues to create and perform together, showcasing their unwavering passion for music. Their legacy as one of the first hip hop acts to perform with a full band stands as a testament to their innovative spirit and enduring influence on the genre.


Q: When and where did Stetsasonic originate?

A: Stetsasonic originated in Brooklyn, New York City in 1981.

Q: What made Stetsasonic unique compared to other hip hop acts at the time?

A: Stetsasonic was one of the first hip hop acts to perform with a full band and use live instrumentation in their recordings, setting them apart from their contemporaries.

Q: What genres did Stetsasonic incorporate into their music?

A: Stetsasonic incorporated elements of R&B, jazz, dancehall reggae, and rock into their music, making them pioneers of the jazz rap genre.

Q: How have Stetsasonic influenced the hip hop genre?

A: Stetsasonic has been influential in shaping the direction of hip hop and paved the way for future hip hop bands like The Roots.

Q: Are the members of Stetsasonic still active in the music industry?

A: Despite rumors of disbandment in 1991, the band continues to record and perform together, with individual members also pursuing solo careers.

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