With its upbeat production, feel-good rhymes, and sincere love of the culture, The Last Dance is a tribute to hip-hop as much as it is to the life and legacy of Stēzo. The rap icon tragically passed away in 2020 at the young age of 51, but his love for the culture lives on through this new project. It was produced and compiled by his best friend, Chris Lowe, who’s also a deejay, producer, and integral part of Connecticut’s hip-hop scene.
With Lowe at the helm, the goal for The Last Dance was simple.
“I want Stēzo to be remembered as a hip-hop pioneer,” Lowe explains. “Steve was around for a short period of time, but for the time he was here I saw him shake the game!”
From his come-up as a dancer to working with EPMD to doing his thing on the solo tip, Stēzo embodied the spirit of the culture—and the same goes for this album. It features five tracks that he completed before his passing as well as some unfinished songs and miscellaneous recordings, which provided Lowe with plenty of material to create, The Last Dance. And in doing so, he called upon fellow hip-hop legends including LL Cool J, Pete Rock, Edo G, Special Ed, Just Blaze, and Chubb Rock for guest features and vocal tributes.
The result is a piece of hip-hop history with a variety of sounds and styles. There are straight-up slappers like “Check One Two…” (feat. Grand Puba, Chubb Rock & Kia Jeffries) and “Keep The Groove” (feat. Johnny Famous), but also introspective lyrical moments like “Homeless Stevie” and “Lucky Me.” These tracks help to further showcase Stēzo’s versatility as an artist, while making the album feel like a strong addition to his body of work.
For Lowe, that’s exactly what he hoped to achieve with this record.
“I’m just grateful for being able to capture his voice one last time,” he says. “When he passed away, I felt obligated to finish the new album we already started.”
The Last Dance is available now via DSPs, as well as on CD and vinyl in either classic black or translucent red through Blacklife Records in partnership with Fat Beats. Please note the translucent red vinyl is available exclusively through Fat Beats’ online store.