For over two decades Strafe – composer, producer, musician, arranger and recording artist – has rocked the underground club world with his signature masterpiece “Set It Off”, hailed “the most sampled song of all time” by Billboard Magazine. With its infectious catchphrase “Y’all want this party started, right?” and various alternate phrases “Let’s get this party started” and more, it has been sampled and used by artists such as Jennifer Lopez w/P. Diddy, Fat Joe & Big Pun, 50 Cent, Monica w/ Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah w/Organized Noize, Lil Jon, Tupac, Newcleus, Kid Capri, Fabolous, Dead Prez w/Jay Z and the recently released remix of Jagged Edge’s “Put A Little Umph In It” produced by Jermaine Dupri to name a few. The song’s continuing influence is evidenced by the fact that Strafe continues to administrate and license this work internationally. The original song appears on dozens of dance compilations throughout the world.
Set It Off has also entered the world of film, with the song, or its elements, featured in soundtracks and/or movies: Set It Off, Bad Boys, Big Momma’s House, The Principal, She’s Gotta Have It, Black and White and Shark Tales. The song has also been used in TV shows like The Jamie Foxx Show and The Keenan Ivory Wayans series In Living Color.
Strafe began his musical career as a teen on guitar in his stepfather’s band, Mr. Steve & The Young Ones. Upon graduating Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, Strafe joined the Odissea dance band on guitar and vocals. As S.t.d.,he later added DJ to his artistic credit, developing and showcasing his formula for the perfect raw club experience by spinning the hottest records of the day along with obscure tracks that moved crowds throughout the tri-state area. It is this experience that inspired the “Set It Off” composition.
In early 1984, just prior to the release of “Set It Off”, Strafe toured with then Emergency/Atlantic Records recording artist Shannon as a guitarist/backup vocalist. Promoting her just released album featuring the breakout hits, “Let The Music Play” & “Give Me Tonight” they shared bills with Kool & The Gang, George Clinton & P. Funk, The Commodores, The Dazz Band, Spyro Gyro, Run DMC, New Edition, and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five among many others.
In 1985 Strafe signed to A&M Records which released 3 singles: “React”, “Comin’ From Another Place” and “Outlaw”. In 1989 he formed the Hard Soul® brand and later the recording company. Strafe’s Hard Soul Recordings, released the original “Set It Off-Walter Gibbons Love Mix” reissue and Set It Off –“The Remixes Vol. 1”(consisting of restyled versions by some of the club world’s most talented DJ’s) in 2005. Into 2013, Strafe’s “Set It Off” continues to spark creative sample and mashup uses, the most recent of which is David Morales’ remix of the Jackson Five’s “Hum Along & Dance.”
Label owner, publisher, musician and composer, producer, recording artist and DJ? This new millennium Renaissance man has his work cut out for him. He is up for the challenge, defining his expectations and intent for Hard Soul®: Never EZ – Always Love!