By: Camron Miller
“The beat won’t stop with the JM Jock. If he jacks the box and the partyrocks. The clock tick tocks and the place gets hot. So ease your mind and set yourself free. To that mystifying music they call the key”. -Music Is The Key, JM Silk
House music is a critical component, an essential element in the foundation of Chicago’s music scene. House music takes its name from an old Chicago night club called the Warehouse, where DJ Frankie Knuckles mixed old disco classics, new Eurobeat pop and synthesized beats into a frantic high-energy amalgamation of recycled soul. Frankie Knuckles is known as the pioneer and architect of this sound and the Warehouse is probably remembered as the most atmospheric, jumping, place that Chicago ever had.
House music is as deeply embedded into the culture of Chicago as deep-dish pizza, Harold’s chicken, and Garrett’s popcorn. Not only did House music permeate every soul and site of Chicago, it also garnered widespread attention and dominated the playlists of some of Europe’s most influential DJ’s in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s. Out of this explosion came some of Chicago’s most notable House Music DJ’s. DJ legends Farley “Jackmaster Funk”, Love Can’t Turn Around, and Steve “Silk” Hurley, “Jack Your Body” were essential in putting the House music scene on the map. From their music came a unique style of dancing known as “jacking” that is still performed today. Talk to a group of 5 people from Chicago and I guarantee you at least one if not more will be a self proclaimed “House Head” and excitedly recount a night of jacking to the beat at the Warehouse or Riviera on Chicago’s north side.
Chicago’s house music scene is still prevalent and very much a part of Chicago’s culture. The Chicago House Music scene kicked off this summer with The Chicago House Music Festival held on May 26th, over Memorial Day Weekend, at Millennium Park. The day included live DJ performances on five different stages. Prior to the festival, the Chicago House Music Conference and Dance Summit was held over three days, May 24-26, 2018 at the Chicago Cultural Center. The conference included workshops and panels related to the artistry, business and culture of House music for youth and adults. The Hyde Park Brewfest held June 2nd- 3rd, kicked off the south side House music scene with the sounds of well known House Music DJs Alan King and Terry Hunter.
But the biggest and most attended House music event, The Chosen Few Picnic, is yet to come on Saturday, July 7th at Jackson Park. The event is known as one of the biggest House music events as it attracts more than 35,000 people each year. Tickets for The Chosen Few Picnic are available on chosenfewdjs.com.
House music brings the mind, body and soul together and is one of the most family friendly genres to listen too. My mother, a self-proclaimed House Head and my Godfather exposed me to House music at a very early age. I remember sitting in my Godfather’s house at the age of 3, watching him spin records, and listening to House music blast through his speakers, while I danced to the beat. Those stories and experiences inspired me to become a DJ.
In the words of Marshal Jefferson, “Gotta have house music, all night long. With that house music, you can’t go wrong.”