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Mikey Jukes Explains The Chicago Syndrome

21 April 2004 No Comment

Visionary people like me rarely have the opportunity to share with others. We are normally hushed away in closed-minded communities, where the majority populous explains away our hypothesis and theories as foolishness or even insanity. Two years ago, I could’ve told you that Chicago was soon to become a Hip-Hop and Entertainment Mecca. But at that time I would’ve just as quickly been written off as delusional. As a matter of fact, Five years ago I could’ve told you that people like Kanya West and Twista were all over the Chicagoland area. But today I bet you would dare to believe me, now wouldn’t you?

You see, the reason Chicago was written off as a city void of Hip-Hop talent, is because of its infamous infatuation with House Music. In the 1980’s Chicago embraced the genres of music affectionately known as House Music, Deep House and Disco. Many powerhouse deejays emerged from this predominately underground scene, such as Ron Hardy, Farley Funkin Keith, Bad Boy Bill and the new Violator All-Star Deejay Pharris Thomas. These guys and countless others scoured the city with House Parties, After-sets and mixtapes.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with House Music and Deep House, they are both related and distinctly different in sound. They are both derived from black Disco music. House music consists of 808 tracks and generic samples as well as club music remakes from mainstream the disco scene. However, Deep House is raw and untainted Lost Disco from the late 1960’s and 1970’s. When I say lost disco I am talking about labels like Casablanca, TK Disco and recording artists like Lenny Williams (the sample used on Twista’s song “Overnight Celebrity”), Bumble Bee, BT Express, Sylvester, unheard of Donna Summer and a few underground Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes tunes. You may even hear some low key Chaka Khan joints that never made radio airplay. The real “underground” artists are so numerous I couldn’t begin to make a list. 

There are simply thousands of records, and the ongoing competition among Chicago Deejays in the 1980’s, was to search for and play music the crowd has never heard. Some of the stuff played in a Deep House party is still a mystery to science while other tunes slowly became favorites, through the use of circulating mixtapes. That’s why it’s also called “Lost Disco”. These one hit wonders never made mainstream radio airwaves. 

Herein lays the problem. During this same era New York and California were simultaneously developing a strong hip-hop scene. Although House Music was in New York, it was not predominate and it was normally played in Gay clubs and alternative music scenes. In the hood, Hip-Hop was the music of choice. Chicagoans were well aware of hip-hop and I myself owned the first Sugar Hill Gang Record. I was also one of the first kids to learn the lyrics to Kurtis Blow’s anthem “The Breaks”. It’s not a lie, we Chicagoans all loved NWA and Easy-E when they came straight from Compton to the local record store. But we were programmed to believe that when it was time to go party, the music of choice was not Hip-Hop, it was House.

Heck who could dirty dance to hip-hop? How could you get up on a girl and get sweaty and personal on NWA’s classic “F*ck the Police”? You remember the videos of the 1980’s. People danced to themselves, not with each other. Do you remember the dance called, “The Running Man”? Try doing that in a sexy and seductive way; you will look like a handicap pimp. And break dancing was skillful, not sexual. But House music was the quickest way into a girls pants in a hot and steamy basement party. All of that Disco music was about love, sex and drugs. 

So Chicago became what I and many other people call a “Late Bloomer”. But it wasn’t a matter of being late; it was a matter of being misunderstood. This is because when people visited our city and went to a nightclub, they thought we were insane. They simply didn’t understand how we partied in the 1980’s and 1990’s. However, as a result of this rich musical background, we tuned our ears a little different from the rest of the world. We went deeper into disco music than any other city. Our version of Hip-Hop was founded on an Island of outcasts. 

This has now proven to be a blessing instead of a curse, because the soulful flavor of Disco continues to flow through our veins. We have created something beautiful, and hip-hop in Chicago is about to make its mark in the music industry. Some of the first artists from Chicago to be discovered in the 1990’s were Common Sense, Crucial Conflict, Do or Die, Tongue Twista (Twista) and Psychodrama. These artists represented a sample of the Diversity from the West side of Chicago to the South Side. But people got it twisted when they thought all people in Chicago rap fast. The actual fact is our representation was limited to these five groups, which are only a microscopic percentage of the hip-hop subculture in Chicago. So as usual people stereotyped our city. 

And yeah Chicago is infamous for Gangs, Pimps and Mafia activity. The famous Italian mobsters from the days of prohibition spent plenty of days in Chi-Town. And that pimp in a green suit you see on all these rap videos holding a pimp cup is from Chicago too. One of the outstanding points of the newly discovered Chicago sound is its diversity. You will soon learn how incredibly diverse it is. But the gift of Chicago music is that we are a city raised on soulful music. And you can bet your bottom dollar Chicago is going to make music you can bounce too, and even freak a girl in a basement party while you’re at it.

Mikey Jukes is an Executive Producer soon to revolutionize the Hip-Hop and television scene in Chicago…stay tuned.


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