For over two decades the name Strafe has rocked the underground club world with his signature masterpiece “Set It Off,” hailed as “the most sampled song of all time,” by Billboard Magazine. As a song which has inspired many performing artists with its catchphrase “Y’all want this party started, right?” and various alternative phrases like “Let’s get it started,” “Let’s get this party started,” “Set It Off,” the song, and Strafe the composer, producer, musician, arranger and recording artist, continues to administrate this work to successful results, as evidence by the artists who have benefited from the sample use of the song, including Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz “I Like Dem Girlz,” 50 Cent, Dr. Dre and Mike Elizondo’s “Outta Control,” P. Diddy, Big Pun and Fat Joe on Jennifer Lopez’s “Feelin’ So Good,” 2Pac’s “Changes”, Missy Elliot on Monica’s “Get It Off,” Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock “It Takes Two,” C&C Music Factory “Here We Go,” Queen Latifah with Organized Noise “Set It Off,” Lady Saw “Hice It Up,” Patra “Pull Up To The Bumper (Salaam Remi Mix),” and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam “Let The Beat Hit ‘Em” to name a few.
“Set It Off” has also entered the film world, with the song or a derivative of the song, featured in the soundtracks and/or structure of Set It Off, The Principal, Bad Boys, Big Momma’s House, Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Black & White, and a line from the song was featured in the movie Shark Tales. The song has been used in TV as well, in shows like the Jamie Foxx Show, and Keenan Ivory Wayans’s In Living Color, the series.
Born Steve Standard, Strafe was born into a family of music lovers—his stepfather, Steve Gordon, a multi-instrumentalist, headed the band Mr. Steve and The Young Ones in the early ‘70’s, which featured Strafe as a teen on rhythm & lead guitar. He had been studying music and reading drum notation since the age of 6, also played trumpet & violin, and by the time he was performing with The Young Ones, he was already a professional, performing at venues like the Electric Circus, Audubon Ballroom, and various other local venues in the New York City area.
Years later, Strafe would add DJ to his artistic credit, performing as Steve S.T.D. aka “The Boogie Monger” of FunkwizardryTM Mobile throughout the New York City tri-state area, rocking the hottest records of the day along with obscure tracks that exposed his formula for the perfect raw club experience.
By 1983, Strafe was signed to Jus Born Records, which released the original “Set It Off” to the marketplace in May of 1984. Months later, due to artistic differences with Strafe, the label owners shelved his original version of “Set It Off”, and released a remake version of the song with the Harlequin Fours. Additional cover versions of the work by various acts also appeared internationally as well as domestically. However, by early 1985, the original version of the record became the most sought after and requested record by the club DJs and the public.
In 1985 Strafe was signed to A&M Records which released three singles from the artist: “React” that same year, “Comin’ From Another Place” in 1986, and in 1987 “Outlaw.” Two years later in 1989 he formed Hard Soul® Recordings which currently houses his recording and production projects. The first recordings from the label were the singles “What isa Kwanzaa” by the late Medicine Man Ya Ya that same year, and Strafe’s “Happy Birthday / Special Occasion”, which was released in 1992.
Strafe recorded & produced an album for Global Beat Records in 1997 for the artist Wayquay, titled Tribal Grind. The work was later nominated for a Grammy-Native American Music Award.
Strafe’s Hard Soul® Recordings is re-releasing the original “Set It Off-Reissue ” as well as “Set It Off -The Remixes Vol. 1” which consists of restyled versions of the song by DJs Kenny Carpenter, Jovonn, Louie Reach, So-Lifted Inc. and two mixes by engineer/producer Jon Evans. The “Set It Off – Remixes Vol. 1” is a showcase for each of the featured producer/remixers with the potential for further collaborations on forthcoming Hard Soul ® releases. These releases also spearhead a Strafe “reintroduction” to the marketplace to be followed up with EP pilot projects and singles predating full length album/CD releases.
As a label owner, composer/producer, recording artist/performer, promoter & DJ, Strafe has got his work cut out for him. It won’t be easy…
Why Hard Soul ®? “Folks have always had a hard time categorizing my sound. Instead of waiting for someone to define me, I decided to define my intent and expectations: Never E Z – Always Love! I’ll keep trying to bring something relevant and progressive to the table for as long as I’m allowed in the kitchen, till then, it’s Hard Soul baby!!”
Strafe’s original “Set It Off”, released over twenty years ago, is unique in that it is one of very few, if not the one tune to crossover to as many markets as it has, maintain its mystique and still generate excitement on dance floors today.