DJ Spinna’s 5 favourite Chicago house tracks

DJ Spinna is an interesting proposition. The 90s was a time where, especially in New York, there were very clear divisions between house and hip-hop factions – you were either one or the other, a Pete Rock or a Louie Vega. Spinna was assured enough to dip his toe into both ponds, releasing on house labels such as Nervous Records and working with Tortured Soul, as well as remixing artists such as De La Soul and Stevie Wonder, and more recently, working with Stones Throw rapper Homeboy Sandman.

For his 5 favourite selection, he has plumped for an old classic; Chicago house. With such a rich and diverse history it’s no enviable task to distill a whole cultural evolution down to five tracks, but here are Spinna’s personal highlights from what was, and still continues to be, one of the most unifying musical movements of modern times.


Tyree – Acid Over (Original Mix)
I always loved the experimentation of Acid sounds in House music. Many of the championed Acid House records released during late 80’s by the likes of Armando, Adonis and Lil Louis etc were repetitive entrancing tracks that would beat your body down to the bone on the dance floor. This track however managed to give you the best of both worlds, beautiful jazzy chords combined with that raw energy that balances things out nicely. It always stood out and remains to be a special record till this day.


Jeannette Thomas – Shake Your Body (House Shaker Version)
I remember picking this record up at a small record shop in the Greenwich Village called Decca Dance. It wasn’t easy to find back then. This a great example of a track that changed it’s position of legacy throughout time. I recall the vocal version on the A side getting played initially but the B side became the classic. I NEVER hear the vocal version anymore. The record is a powerhouse that never gets old. After that 8 bar kick drum intro… when the baseline hits and the synth line drops it’s always game over.


Gershon Jackson – Ya’ll Be Easy‎
I’ve always been very particular about Hip House records. Some would come off a bit more on the cheesy side. I’m sure many of the Hip Hop artists that had their tracks remixed into House back in the days felt the same. Usually I would head straight to the dub or instrumental mixes. The New York Instrumental version on this Mike Dunn produced track is an absolute burner. The drums are hard and skippy, reminiscent of Todd Terrry’s classic drum programming, but everything else about it is Chicago. It’s a sleeper.


House To House Featuring Kym Mazelle – Taste My Love (She’s Gotta Have It Mix)
Marshall Jefferson is the king, his baselines are colossal. He’ produced so many of my favorite Chicago house records and he may may very well be one of the first to bring orchestration and full on composition to the genre (think about the string section on “evotion” by Ten City). This release came out two ways, first in 1987 as a single release, then re-released the following year with another track “I’m a Lover'” as the B-side. I’m not sure what the story is behind this but in my opinion the latter version is so much better, most notably for Kim Mazelle’s vocal performance (she recut the vocals). It’s also the version I heard the most. She killed it on the ad libs. The song is powerful yet sexy as hell, and the groove is classic Marshall vibes. I love a good song, no matter the genre.


Mr. Fingers – Can You Feel It
It’s still boggles my mind to know this was released in 1986. Larry Heard was ahead of his time with this. I felt it back when it came out, and I still feel it today! This entire EP is a game changer, especially this track. Although it a tried and true classic House record it really crosses genres. You can play this today and it can go against any new age post Dilla generation hip hop instrumental or experimental beat. The tempo is only 112 which allows for you to make that transition into faster tempos in your dj sets. Larry Heard is one of my biggest heroes. He’s a huge inspiration to the older House generation as well as forthcoming producers in dance music. If you don’t have this record, you’re doing yourself a great injustice.

DJ Spinna’s The Sound Beyond Stars is now available on BBE Music.

You may also like...

Load more