One of the most unlikely heroes of hip-hop has to be former ad man Steinski, who catapulted himself to street-level fame by entering a Tommy Boy remix contest in 1983 and delivering (with recording studio vet Double Dee) one of the best mastermixes of all time. No matter that this was hardly an "on the fly" turntablist piece worthy of Grandmaster Flash; basically, it came about from boxes of records, turntables, tape machines, and a dozen hours of studio time. The original "Lesson" (aka "The Payoff Mix") was a dizzying trip that took in dozens of track snippets interspersed with all manner of movie dialogue and cartoon samples. It also managed to keep the flame for truly hilarious hip-hop alive until Prince Paul and colleagues arrived on the scene in the mid- to late '80s with their own twist on the perfect beat. "The Payoff Mix" was followed in 1984 by "The Lesson 2 (James Brown Mix)," a series of the Godfather's greatest grunts, with just as many detours through funk and hip-hop as the first mix. From there, Double Dee & Steinski or Steinski solo took on everything from the history of hip-hop, jazz, and Sugar Hill to two of the most deadly serious moments in American history, JFK's assassination ("The Motorcade Sped On") and the events of 9/11 ("Number Three on Flight Eleven"). The Illegal Art compilation titled What Does It All Mean?: 1983-2006 Retrospective has most of Steinski's greatest work, including virtually all of his productions on the first disc and, on the second, one of the best mix albums of all time, his Nothing to Fear: A Rough Mix for the Coldcut-associated show Solid Steel on the BBC. Rap music has rarely gotten more virtuosic and creative than it does here.