If you love Beyonce’s ‘Break My Soul’ or Drake’s new album, “Honestly, Nevermind”, there are five house music genres you can check out to keep the vibe going. Now, I want to say up front that I’m not a music expert or connoisseur.
I was inspired to write this article because 1) I genuinely enjoyed “Break My Soul” so much that I looked into early house music artists, and 2) I wanted to pay homage to Black house music legends. I’ve been seeing ‘real’ house music fans talk about artists who paved the way for this musical renaissance but lack mainstream recognition, especially after “Break My Soul” was released.
The four house music genres I recommend for fans of “Break My Soul” or house music newbies like me are Chicago House, Deep House, Dance Music/Club, and Baltimore Club Music.
House music got its name from the Chicago club, the Warehouse, where Frankie Knuckles played a mix of tracks from disco to post-punk, R&B to synth-heavy Eurodisco,” according to RollingStone.
Since no one else was playing that style of music in clubs back then, patrons shorted “the Warehouse” to “house” to describe the music being played.
Clubs like the Warehouse were an oasis for black gay men at that time. They were allowed to be their authentic selves and have fun. Club goers came to listen to the resident Dj, Frankie Knuckles, who is also known as the “godfather of house. Every house music genre and subgenre derives from Chicago House music.
Another influential Chicago House pioneer is Marshall Jefferson, also known as the “father of house music,” who played at the Warehouse. Jefferson’s song, “Move Your Body/The House Music Theme” is still sampled to this day. It’s so sampled that Jefferson is currently suing Kanye West over using his song on Donda 2.
Deep house music is “an electronic music genre derived from Chicago house music. Deep house tracks combine the pulsing four-on-the-floor signature beat of traditional house music with harmonies and basslines inspired by jazz and funk. Compared to standard house music, deep house is more likely to feature vocals”, according to Armin Van Buuren’s Masterclass.
One of the early successful deep house artists was Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers. His solo hits include the hit song “Can You Feel It,” “Mystery of Love,” and “Washing Machine.”
Although house music was originally started and dominated by Black men, there were a lot of iconic Black women who contributed to the 80s and 90s house dance/club scene.
These legends include Robin Stone, also known as Robin S., with her hit “Show Me Love,” which Beyoncé sampled in “Break My Soul.” There’s also Crystal Waters with her hit, “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless),” and CeCe Peniston who sang, “Finally,” which was sampled by Kelly Rowland and Amorphous.
Baltimore Club Music
According to Baltimore Magazine, “Baltimore Club Music is influenced by its proximity to the Northeast, South, and Midwest… It’s literally birthed out of Chicago house, Miami bass, and hip-hop. It’s important to note that this meshing happened not from people listening to records or tapes, but from traveling to clubs [to hear] touring artists. During this time, black artists weren’t being supported by the industry, they were creating their own lanes and building audiences through the clubs.”
Popular Baltimore Club Music Djs include Rod Lee, DJ Technics, Blaqstarr, K-Swift and Jimmy Jones. Baltimore Club Music hits include “Dance My Pain Away” by Rod Lee, “Watch Out For The Big Girl” by Jimmy Jones, and “Feel It In The Air” by Blaqstarr.
The Washington Post reported that Rod Lee made Baltimore Club Music mainstream after being the first B-More DJ to have an album, (Vol. 5: The Official) nationally distributed.
Do you have a favorite house music genre to listen to or is it not your thing? Leave a comment below.
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