An introduction to house music’s seminal records, courtesy of DJ Lady D

Ahead of the 2022 ARC Music Festival, “Chicago’s house music queen” revisits the history of her genre, from Lil Louis to Ralphi Rosario to a song sampled by Beyoncé.

“If you want to learn more about house music, start with the fact that Chicago is its birthplace and go from there,” says DJ Lady D. As one of the pioneers of the genre, called “the queen of house music from Chicago” in 2008, it’s fine. – well versed in its history and tradition, constantly performing, remixing and producing in true house spirit.

Ahead of her appearance at ARC, Chicago’s music festival dedicated to dance music innovators and heavy hitters, Lady D selects the Gramaphone Records tracks that define the city’s house culture. It bridges its past and its present, highlighting the genre’s roots in soul and disco while connecting with its modern manifestations.

“A lot of mainstream and mainstream artists are making house music really popular right now.” she says. “People say he’s resurrecting it, which is only true in the radio sense. I am very happy that the [mainstream artists] making house music now they are going back and working with real house producers. Drake worked with Black Coffee, and Beyoncé worked with Honey Dijon and Terry Hunter. He even tried some of the records in this stack!”

“Club Lonely (Lonely People)” by Lil Louis feat. Joy Cardwell
Lil Louis is definitely a trendsetter and one of the mainstays of Chicago house. He had a huge following and was one of the first to make a full-length house album that was picked up by a major [label]. “Club Lonely” (1992) is just a jam and features one of my favorite female vocalists, Joi Cardwell. We’re all proud of Louis because house music producers didn’t always have these main aspects and were mostly relegated to doing remixes.

“Get With U” by Lidell Townsell and MTF
Liddell is actually known for two songs, “Nu Nu” (1991) and “Get With U” (1992), both of which were on the same album. He’s another house artist who got a major label look when Mercury Records released an album with him. “Nu Nu” was a bona fide hit that’s been covered a million times, but this is the other underground song that you can play and people would still be like, Oh my goodness. There are really cool remixes by David Morales and Cajmere (aka Green Velvet), who co-wrote the track. Honey Dijon just tried this for “Cozy,” which she produced with Luke Solomon and Chris Penny on Beyonce’s new album. revival.

“Can’t Stop The House” by Thompson and Lenoir
Thompson & Lenoir released “Can’t Stop The House” (1987) on House Jam Records. His label has a small catalog of early house classics; some of them are very rare and hard to find. I’m pretty sure this is a holdover, but I’m glad, because we all want this piece of vinyl in our collection. It was recently covered by Sam Divine and Defected Records, because it’s that good. When he says, “I pledge allegiance to the house groove,” that hits me right here in the heart. If Sam Divine hadn’t covered it, I probably would have.

“I’m hungry” by Stopp
“I’m Hungry” (1983) is only one record, but it must be representative of all the Italian disco that flowed through the house parties from the beginning. Soul and disco were part of early house and protohouse, but then you also had Italo disco, which was very different. Back in the day, we were very eclectic and very open to all kinds of sounds. Italo disco played an important role [in developing] early Chicago house sound.

“You Used to Hold Me” by Ralphi Rosario feat. Xavier Gold
Ralphi Rosario is one of the heroes of our hometown. It’s right up there with Frankie Knuckles and Lil Louis. He’s definitely one of our guys who’s still going, who did remixes for major labels and entire albums, and This is Ralphi Rosario it’s like a retrospective of all his amazing classic hits. People know him for being part of the Hot Mix 5 – at the time he was the youngest member – and for his classic with Xavier Gold, “You Used to Hold Me” (1993). History of the house! He’s still doing things to this day. I had the honor of adding spoken word to his song with Craig Snider, Eric Kupper and The Shamanic called “FK Always” which was a tribute to Frankie Knuckles released earlier this year. Frankie was one of ours [shared] heroes It has been an honor to work with him.

The ARC Music Festival takes place in Chicago’s Union Park from September 2-4. Tickets are available here.

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