I didn't personally know DJ Stef, but I have long known of her. R.I.P. DJ Stef.
BTW Mix is Highly Recommended.
So like 15 years ago (~2002/3ish) I made a posting soulstrut.com, which at the time was the hip hop record nerd capital of the internet, asking if anyone needed any audio work done. I was graduating from Expression in Emeryville with an audio degree and needed some things for my portfolio/resume. Bay Area legend DJ Stef responded, who I knew from some of the Soulstrut club nights in SF. She mailed me a mixtape she had recorded (back then they were actual tapes) that she was trying to digitize (it was a much bigger pain in the ass back then). I was very stoked, both to hear what she had put together and to do something helpful with my newly-honed audio skills. I was getting ready to encode it and somehow, in the chaos of my household as a barely-functional 20-year-old with a newborn (now 14-year-old) living with my inlaws, lost it. Couldn't find it anywhere. I was mortified. I searched all over the house. For some reason, I never leveled with her about it. I think it was like a Schrodinger's Cat situation where if I didn't admit that I had lost it that it wasn't really lost. I kept my eyes peeled for years. It was a source of deep shame. Every time I moved, I expected it to turn up somewhere but it never would.
Recently (2017), I actually found the tape. It was in a random padded envelope that I didn't remember at all inside a box of my kids' old schoolwork. Inside were the cassette, liner notes with full tracklisting and a handwritten note: "Thanks Mike! - Stef". I assembled all the pieces needed and was planning to record the tape when I had some free time and send it off to her.
This week, Stef passed away suddenly. I never got to send it to her. I digitized it today and passed the cassette to Matt Sonzala who is leaving for the Bay tomorrow for Stef's wake. I was hesitant about putting this up on my account, since I don't want to take any credit for it, but after talking with Matt I believe this might help some folks who are missing her and hurting right now. This is a record of Stephanie Ornelas in her element, immersed in what she loved, creating something to share with people she loved. It's coming a little later than she maybe intended, but I'm entertaining the possibility that it's right on time for somebody.