Strut presents Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997, the first definitive retrospective of one of Chicago’s most important and innovative house music labels. Emerging as a raw alternative to the powerhouses of Trax and DJ International during the mid-‘80s, Dance Mania continued to represent street-level Chicago club music into the ‘90s, helping to pioneer the Ghetto House sound.
Hardcore Traxx traces the full story of the label from its heyday. Founded in 1985 and managed by Ray Barney from Barney’s Distribution HQ on Ogden Avenue (moving later to West Roosevelt Road), Dance Mania hit the ground running with its second release in ’86, the incendiary ‘Hardcore Jazz’ EP by Duane & Co. Barney quickly became a trustworthy outlet for early house and acid productions by upcoming Chicago artists such as Lil Louis, Marshall Jefferson and Farley Keith aka Farley “Jackmaster” Funk.
The label set out its stall with a series of landmark Chicago releases including ‘7 Ways’ by Hercules, Li’l Louis’ ‘The Original Video Clash’ and international smash ‘House Nation’ by Housemaster Boyz. During the ‘80s, it cemented its reputation for uncompromising club records and DJ Tools with sounds spanning raw garage (Victor Romeo’s ‘Love Will Find A Way’), acid trax (Robert Armani) and quality house (Da Posse).
Into the ‘90s, Barney unleashed the groundbreaking ‘Hit It From The Back’ by Traxmen and Eric Martin, ushering in a primitive new sound around faster, stripped down rhythms and X-rated party-starting lyric lines. Barney remembers, “Guys used to call in and ask for music on Dance Mania – they were saying, ‘gimme some of that ghetto stuff’. Dance Mania producer DJ Slugo adds, “when we made Ghetto House… we made music for the bitches. Music for the grinding sh*t and all of that.” The sound spawned a whole new swathe of homegrown producers releasing a fast flow of no-compromise dancefloor bangers: Paul Johnson, DJ Deeon, DJ Funk, DJ Milton, Waxmaster and Slugo all became leaders of the scene. The influence of ghetto house became widespread, not least for Daft Punk, whose track ‘Teachers’ from their ‘Homework’ album in 1997 was effectively a tribute to Dance Mania. The new wave of productions also paved the way for the later Chicago juke and footwork scene.
Today, with the label back up and running courtesy of Ray Barney and Parris Mitchell, Dance Mania remains a revered Chicago institution across dance music. With ‘Hardcore Traxx’, Strut traces the history of the label on a definitive compilation for the first time, from the early classics to ghetto house anthems alongside big money rarities and oddities hidden within their substantial catalogue.
Digital Track List
- 1 7 Ways (Vocal) Hercules 6:49 Buy
- 2 Love Will Find A Way (Club) Victor Romeo feat. Leetrece Brown 4:24 Buy
- 3 House Nation The House Master Boyz And The Rude Boy Of House 8:11 Buy
- 4 J.B. Traxx Duane And Co 3:41 Buy
- 5 I Dream You Vincent Floyd 5:20 Buy
- 6 Searchin' Hard (Mike Dunn's AC mix) Da Posse feat. Martell 6:24 Buy
- 7 Crazy Wild Club Style 7:30 Buy
- 8 Twinkles Strong Souls 5:39 Buy
- 9 Falling (Armando's House mix) 3 2 6 4:37 Buy
- 10 Ride On The Ride Rhythm (Track Edits) Victor Romeo feat. Cool Dave-O 5:41 Buy
Track List: CD
- Hercules - 7 Ways (Club) 6.48
- Victor Romeo featuring Leatrice Brown - Love Will Find A Way (Club) 4.44
- The House Master Boyz And The Rude Boy Of House - House Nation
- Duane & Co – J.B. Traxx 3.42
- Vincent Floyd - I Dream You 5.25
- Da Posse featuring Martell - Searchin’ Hard
- Club Style - Crazy Wild
- Jammin’ The House Gerald - Black Women (Club) 3.30
- Tyree - Nuthin’ Wrong 5.56
- Strong Souls – Twinkles 5.38
- 3.2.6 – Falling (Armando’s House mix) 6.30
- Rhythm II Rhythm – A Touch Of Jazz (Lifestyles Of The Rich mix)
- DJ Funk - House the Groove 4.50
- Paul Johnson – Feel My M.F. Bass 4.32
- DJ Funk – The Original Video Clash: Video Clash II (Street mix) 4.47
- Parris Mitchell Project feat. Wax Master - Ghetto Shout Out!! 6.41
- DJ Deeon – Da Bomb 5.19
- Houz’ Mon – Fear The World 4.40
- Vincent Floyd – I’m So Deep 7.02
- Tim Harper – Toxic Waste (Club mix)
- Robert Armani – Ambulance
- DJ Deeon – House-O-Matic 4.04
- Traxmen & Eric Martin – Hit It From The Back
- Top Cat – Work Out