Rapper, Dancer, and Former EPMD Affiliate Stezo Dies at 51

Torry Threadcraft Torry Threadcraft is a writer who covers music, sports, and…
Source: Artist

Stezo started his career dancing with EPMD.

Multiple sources are confirming that rapper, dancer, and former EPMD affiliate Stezo passed away Wednesday at the age of 51. His producer and DJ Chris Lowe confirmed the news on Twitter.

“Thanks for the love,” he told DJ Stretch Armstrong, “when u can play a Stezo joint for us.”


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Damn this one hurts big time RIP to my dude the rapper STEZO I’ve know this brother since 1986 this 2020 year sucks big time rest well my friend u will be miss

A post shared by DJ CHUCKCHILLOUT (@djchuckchillout) on

Born Steve Williams in New Haven, Connecticut, Stezo initially appeared in the video for EPMD’s “You Gots to Chill” from their Strictly Business album. After leaving the group, Stezo started his solo career. In 1989, he released his debut album Crazy Noise on Sleeping Bag Records. The album peaked at number 37 on Billboard‘s R&B albums chart. Two singles from the album, “Freak the Funk” and “It’s My Turn” reached the Billboard charts.

Williams released two more albums in his solo career.

Stezo’s contemporaries shared their condolences on social media. Questlove contextualized Stezo’s career on Instagram. “Before Hammer’s pants,” he wrote, “there was Stezo…Before #AtomicDog fed an ENTIRE GENRE…there was Stezo…I mean for gods sake this man made #SteveMartin cool to a hip hop generation…he turned Steve Martin into the coolest verb EVER in 1988.”



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This is gonna happen a lot. Before Hammer’s pants, there was #Stezo…before we all abused that #SkullSnaps #ItsANewDay break…there was Stezo. Before #AtomicDog fed an ENTIRE GENRE….there was Stezo. While your favorite rapper was asking so & so & such & such to do some beats for em….Stezo was doing it all himself. I mean for gods sake this man made #SteveMartin cool to a hip hop generation too young to get King Tut/The Jerk/& a wild & crazy guy references—-he turned Steve Martin into the coolest verb EVER in 1988 (google #EPMD’s #YouGotsToChill video to see dances that defined a generation—-we talk about MCs/producers/videos/movies/icons from 87-92 but rarely give light to the iconic dances that came from that era—Stezo was always my fav dancer from this era (yes I know the Kid N Play dance was iconic too) but when you don’t have a partner to kick it with? Then yknow…lol——this dude is displaying ALL the moves that others will build empires on. Damn this damn virus man. Damn. Thank you @stezodezo

A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

Williams was the first artist to sample the beat break from Skull Snaps’ “It’s A New Day.” The sample is used in rap classics like The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By,” Mobb Deep’s “Give Up the Goods,” Gang Starr’s “Take It Personal,” and Black Moon’s “Who Got Da Props.”


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In his final post on Instagram, Stezo wrote about closing his barbershop after the COVID-19 pandemic.


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