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OriginNew York City, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Years active1981–1992
LabelsTommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records
MembersPrince Paul (Paul Edward Huston)
MC Delite (Marvin Shahid Wright)
Frukwan (Arnold Hamilton)
Wise (Leonardo Roman)
Daddy-O (Glenn K. Bolton)
DBC (Martin Nemley)
Bobby Simmons

Stetsasonic is an American hip hop band. Formed in 1981 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, Stetsasonic was one of the first hip hop acts to perform with a full band and use live instrumentation in their recordings, paving the way for future hip hop bands such as The Roots. The band combined beat-boxing, sampling technology, and live band performance, incorporating R&B, jazz, dancehall reggae, and rock into its sound.[1] Stetsasonic is also considered one of the acts that pioneered jazz rap.

Though rumored to have disbanded in 1991, soon after the release of its third album, Blood, Sweat & No Tears, Stetsasonic continues to record and perform together, as evidenced by their subsequent release, "People In The Neighborhood", and their performance at the Urban Matterz Hip Hop Festival in 2019. Individual members branched out to explore solo careers, while still maintaining Stetsasonic as the legendary Hip Hop Band. Frukwan and Prince Paul were founding members of the Gravediggaz, while the latter also became a record producer, as did Daddy-O.[2]


Originally, the band was known as The Stetson Brothers, after Stetson hats. There were three MCs, Wise the Human Mix Machine, and Prince Paul. The Stetson Brothers changed its name and style to Stetsasonic the Hip-Hop Band and clinched a deal with Tommy Boy Records when DBC came up with and played the funky bassline for its debut single "If You Can't Say It All Just Say STET", live for Tom Silverman, owner of Tommy Boy Records. After a few months of the single being in regular rotation on radio stations, the band released its first album On Fire (1986).[2] The album received mixed reviews, though the follow-ups, In Full Gear and Blood, Sweat & No Tears were critically acclaimed.

A 1988 New York Times article said that the band mirrored the rise of artistic, profound rap music: "While pop's political commentary often seems secondary to catchy melodies and commercial acceptability, rap's tough sound sharpens its commentary".[3] As a "hip hop band", dependent on instruments as well as turntables, the band was also known for live shows, though sometimes the "rap-show format prevented Stetsasonic from employing the band instrumentation and studio layering that make their records so distinctive."[4]

Frukwan and Prince Paul were founding members of the Gravediggaz, while the latter also became a record producer.

Daddy-O went on to a solo career, while also working as a record producer, working with Freestyle Fellowship, Mary J. Blige, Positive K and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others.[2]

Prince Paul went on to produce the trio De La Soul.

Drummer Bobby Simmons pursued work in public access, forming the show Flava Videos in the mid-1990s on Channel 26 (New York). In 2017, Simmons was a contestant on the FOX game show Beat Shazam where he was partnered with singer Shannon.

MC Delite is currently the President and CEO of Flight Entertainment and a public speaker.[5]

DBC went on to produce tracks for Third World and the Cookie Crew, among others. In 1995, he became the owner and operator of Raw Beat Productions a music & video recording studio, located in Philadelphia, PA. In 2016, he invented the MN-1 Advanced Portable Power System, which is a sustainable energy source with a swappable battery compartment and solar-based charging system.[6]

Wise also participated in a few commercials in which he lends his beatbox sounds. One was for Campbell's Soup in which a cartoon of a B-boy bear kicks a ferocious beat. This commercial was aired amid Saturday morning cartoons. He was also featured in a documentary on the art of the human beatbox called Breath Control: the History of the Human Beat Box,[3] which was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and also featured fellow human percussionists such as Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, Ready Rock C, and Emanon.


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
On Fire 32
In Full Gear
  • Released: June 21, 1988
  • Label: Tommy Boy/Warner
Blood, Sweat & No Tears
  • Released: February 5, 1991
  • Label: Tommy Boy/Warner
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Dance
US Rap
"Just Say Stet" 1985 On Fire
"Go Stetsa I" 1986
"Faye/Forever My Beat" 1987
(featuring Rev. Jesse Jackson & Babatunde Olatunji)
"Float On"
(featuring Force MDs)
1988 56 24 91 91 In Full Gear
"Talkin' All That Jazz" 34 22 73
"Sally/DBC Let The Music Play" 25 100
"Speaking Of A Girl Named Suzy" 1990 Blood, Sweat & No Tears
"No B.S. Allowed"
"So Let The Fun Begin" 1991
"Talkin' All That Jazz (Dimitri From Paris Remixes)" 1998 54 Non-album single
"Sally/DBC Let The Music Play"
2004 Non-album single
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.



  1. ^ Published as "The Next Stets".[13]


  1. ^ Price, Emmett George (2006). Hip Hop Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 295. ISBN 1851098674. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Stetsasonic at AllMusic
  3. ^ Watrous, Peter. Recordings; Rappers Keep Their Music's Content Fresh, The New York Times, 10 January 1988.
  4. ^ Palmer, Robert. Rock: 'Def Jam 87,' Rap at the Garden, The New York Times, 5 September 1987.
  5. ^ Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Stetsasonic Chart History". Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  8. ^ "Stetsasonic Chart History". Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  9. ^ "Stetsasonic Chart History". Dance Club Songs. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  10. ^ "Stetsasonic Chart History". Hot Rap Songs. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  11. ^ "Stetsasonic Chart History (Dutch Charts)". Retrieved December 3, 2020. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  12. ^ "Stetsasonic - UK Chart". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  13. ^ "The Next Stets ‎– Sally / DBC Let The Music Play". Discogs. Retrieved 4 December 2020.

Official Facebook Page [1]

External links[edit]