Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. The Steinski myth has grown in the darkness of bootlegs, but this long-overdue release proves that the reality more than lives up to the legend.
  2. 100
    Barring "Blade Runner," the best pop art by a former adman. [June 2008, p.119]
  3. Rap music has rarely gotten more virtuosic and creative than it does here.
  4. The Wire
    While Steinski's work with DeFranco aka Double Dee, is the most dazzling--precisely because it avoids the pitfalls of run of the mill culture jamming and guerrilla media tactics--Steinski's solo tracks certainly have their own pleasures, even if they are more straightforwardly textural than his collabotation with Double Dee. [June 2008, p.57]
  5. By listening to What Does It All Mean?, you're giving yourself a vital history lesson, a blast of fun, and above all, some 130 minutes of fantastic music.
  6. They may not seem on-point at first, occasionally wandering into vaguely tangential realms like a professor who’s a few dropped chalks away from the retirement home, but eventually the genius of it settles in.
  7. Nothing to Fear might be the surprise highlight of this collection, even accounting for all the classic stuff on the first disc.
  8. Simply put, it is an essential document of hip hop history, an interesting collection of sound art, and a lot of fun to listen to as well.
  9. Alternative Press
    'The Motorcade Sped On,' a track that chops up funky beats with verteran newscaster Walter Cronkite reporting the death of President John F. Kennedy, is worth the price of admission alone. [July 2008, p.170]
  10. 80
    Not all connect, but a bonus disc, the soon-vanished 2002 full-length Nothing to Fear, compensates. Buy this before it vanishes, too.
  11. It's rare that historically important recordings are also essential listening, but this is such a case.
  12. Luckily for us, Illegal Art has included with this set 2006’s Nothing to Fear a riveting journey by DJ that shows Steinski to be entering his second golden age.
  13. A reasonable first impulse is to try to identify all the sound sources; the inevitable second impulse is to marvel at how well he has chopped up and rearranged them into units of rhythm.
  14. Influence aside, what's just as impressive about this handsome anthology of barely legal rarities is how well tracks work as songs.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 13
  2. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. ntretyuif.
    Jan 9, 2009
    This will be in the hip hop hall of fame its classic sample based hip hop which birthed the golden age of hip hop.
  2. MikeJ.
    Oct 7, 2008
    Music for reviewers. They've heard everything there is to hear, and they're fucking bored of all of it. So the only thing they can Music for reviewers. They've heard everything there is to hear, and they're fucking bored of all of it. So the only thing they can enjoy is a compilation of everything they've heard, which to them is "unique". To the rest of us it's boring. This is why you have great music like Nine Inch Nails and Tool getting average reviews and this getting praised out of existence. Full Review »
  3. MycroftW.
    Sep 20, 2008
    Worth your dollar for the Lessons alone. Grab it!