Classic House Series – Episode #10 – Reach – Lil Mo Yin Yang

For our 10th installment of our Classic House Series, I thought I’d share a little recipe for an iconic house anthem:

Take two legendary house music producers, get them in the studio to mess around a little and add a couple of glasses of wine and you’ve got the ingredients to create one BOMB of a track.

The two producers in question include one-half of the extremely important house production duo Masters at Work. “Little” Louie Vega, and the man behind countless underground anthems as well as the successful crossover act Reel 2 Real in the form of Erick Morillo, whose anthem “I Like To Move It” has transcended the clubs to be featured in commercials, video games and the Madagascar movie series.

Combining chunky beats, glimmering synths and vocals snatched from “Love and Happiness” by River Ocean feat, India, a side project of Vega’s, the track builds until a long siren sample comes in before dropping into the apex of the track.  Produced during an impromptu studio session when the two legends were fooling around and having “a little sippy-sippy”, it remains the only co-production by the duo under the Lil Mo Yin Yang moniker.

As if the original cut wasn’t fantastic enough, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts by the end of 1995, Multiply Records re-released the track in 1996 with remixes from acclaimed UK production duo Basement Jaxx and Alcatraz.  The Jaxx crew offered a moodier take on their mix, but the Alcatraz boys cranked out an almost tech-house take on the track which destroyed many a club dancefloor and further cemented the legacy of this anthem.  It seems more than appropriate that they named their remix the “Lil Mo Got Gang-Banged Remix”.

More remixes followed in 2002 and again in 2008, but most were based around the style of the Alcatraz mix.  Retaining the vocal samples of the original, the siren sample was chopped up and turned into a key lead sound for the mix.  The energy of the track was turned up to 11 and offered a fresh take on an already established club staple.  Perfect to drop into a late-night house set, this remains a go-to track for many DJs this day and is one of the most revered tunes ever to come out of the legendary Strictly Rhythm label.

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Classic House Series – Episode #9 – Make The World Go Round – Sandy B.

When it comes to mid-90s vocal house anthems, you can’t go wrong with Sandy B‘s Make The World Go Round.

Released in 1996, this remains one of my most beloved tunes to this day.  The most played mix came from legendary Washington, DC house duo Deep Dish who took three bass notes, some absolutely insane drum production and used their signature style to elevate a rather average cut into a true house banger.

Singer Sandra Barber established herself in the New York scene with her debut single “Feel Like Singing” but it was this release that rocketed her to club stardom.  Featured on many compilations over the years, this song combined the best elements of garage house:  a throbbing bassline, sick beats and lyrics which include a fantastic sing-along hook which has contributed to the tracks enduring legacy almost 20 years later.

Mixes also came from legendary producer/remixer Stonebridge, but it is unquestionably the Deep Dish re-rub that has stood the test of time.  Perfect to kick things off or to drop midway through a set, this one never fails for me.  If I really want to “work” the record, making use of the brilliant “Deep Dish In Orbit Dub” and their bonus beats provides the opportunity to hyper-extend this anthem and give your crowd a real workout.  I proudly own doubles of the vinyl release and when I’ve got a good night going, I love to treat a crowd to this classic.  Not convinced?  Pull it out during your next house set and watch the magic happen.

Still Hot Episode #1 – 20 Year Cycle – Rhythm Masters feat. Kenny Dope

“Everybody wanted a dub.  I’m like, ‘no, but you’re not worthy of a dub-dub-dub-dub-dub……'”

If you’re a DJ and you played house music between 1995-2002(roughly), then you KNOW exactly what it means to see the words “Rhythm Masters” on a vinyl label.  Those two words meant the record in your hands was lucky enough to receive a remix from the kings of funky, chunky, chopped and cut-up house and chances are you were going to be playing the hell out of their mix over the original in short order.

Comprised of Steve Mac and Rob Chetcuti, their production outfit dominated the remix scene in the mid-to-late 90s and early 2000s with their re-rubs of commercial and underground tunes alike numbering in the hundreds.  Having remixed everyone from Todd Terry to Michael Jackson together with a number of impressive original tunes to their name, they created and defined their signature sound which took many an average dance tune to anthemic status.

They disbanded in the mid-2000s but returned in proper form in May, 2015 with the dancefloor destroying “20 Year Cycle”.  Featuring vocals snatched from an interview with fellow house music legend and one half of the seminal remix/production duo Masters at Work, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, it is the RM sound in all its glory:  synth stabs, a delirious filtered bassline and a beat so old-school and tough that I can only describe it as RUDE(in the best way possible).  They even programmed it on an E-mu SP-1200!

9 months in, after a suitable caning from A-list DJs around the world, this one still bangs and can and should be pulled out to give your crowd a taste of the old-school.