Tevo Howard’s career as a DJ started in the late eighties in Chicago when he was still a teenager. Howard immersed himself into the House sound of his hometown and felt especially drawn to the sub genre of Hip House, which he describes as „as much a part of Chicago as the early tracks of Frankie Knuckles and just as much respected during its time“. Hip House „was not Chicago’s answer to Hip Hop“, as Howard puts it, „but truly the way a Chicagoan would articulate and explore the language of African American people of the time“. The Windy City had always been separate from the rest of the United States in terms of music and „as New York embraced Hip Hop with early artists like Run DMC, Chicago’s way to express rhymes fell within a dance tempo and was appropriately given a different genre specific name and identity“.

Hip House used to be heard everywhere in his hometown in those days, recounts Howard: „It was playing out of low rider cars that drove by and on FM radio stations like WBMX, which had its own dedicated show called ‚Saturday Night Dance Party‘.“ For his contribution to the Groove podcast series, Howards revisits those days with a mix from his archive (recorded „around 2005“) that consists „purely of Hip House songs“ from the heyday of the genre around 1989. In a detailed release note to the podcast, Howard breaks down the background and influence of each of the tracks in the mix. „As Chicagoans we all know these tracks as popular tunes that were ahead of their time and not necessarily understood by the rest of the world. In Chicago even the elderly know these tracks were massive hits.“

 

1. Kool Rock SteadyYou Ain’t Nobody (D.J. International Records)

„This track came out as a reaction to demeaning words that KRS-One had said about Kool Rock Steady in public. The problem between the two artists originally spawned from the aversion of the acronym of both artists names being ‚KRS‘. The rivalry also stepped beyond the personal issues to the comparison of Chicago’s own Hip House and New York’s Hip Hop music.“

2. The D.O.C.Portrait Of A Masterpiece (Ruthless Records)

„This was one of the many hip hop tracks that crossed over into the hip house genre because of its dance tempo at around 120 beats per minute.“

3. Mr. LeeGet Busy (Jive)

„‚Get Busy‘ was a classic hit in Chicago upon its release. Mr. Lee was already a giant and hero in Chicago, and this track was a stone pillar that simply said: ‚I am Mr. Lee and all my tracks will smash dance floors!‘ Chicago people thoroughly agreed and supported him with this hit.“

4. Mr. LeePump Up Chicago (Trax Records)

„There were four versions released on the original pressing of this record. ‚Pump Up Chicago‘ and ‚Pump Up London‘ were two that were heavily played. ‚Pump Up Chicago‘ was the statement of ‚We are Chicago‘ with the emphasis on the history of Chicago as the only city in the world with only three sides: North side, South Side, and West Side. The east side of the city is not there even in physical addresses – as it is actually Lake Michigan.“

5. The Wee Papa Girl RappersHeat It Up (Jive)

„‚Heat It Up‘ was a classic from its day by the We Papa Girl Rappers and one Hip House track that was extremely powerful for female rappers in the genre. Its energy, acid bassline and monster bass drum still demolish dancefloors today.“

6. M. DocIt’s Percussion (Jack Trax)

„An absolute classic in the world of Hip House and an early release for the genre. I once had a chance to open for M. Doc around 1990 and spin two hours before his performance, which was an absolute honour for me. ‚It’s Percussion‘, although never forgotten by us Chicagoans, is definitely a gem that pathed the way and carved its part in the valley of House music in general.“

7. Def Jef featuring Etta JamesDroppin’ Rhymes On Drums (Delicious Vinyl)

„Def Jef was a Hip Hop artist who crossed over into the Hip House world. This particular track was embraced as a one hit wonder in Chicago.“

8. Gary Jackmaster Wallace & Jammin‘ JParty Time (House -N- Effect Records)

„Upon its release in 1989 this track was a massive hit. I always love to drop it in a mix because of the energy it has during the first minute or so of the track.“

9. DivaGet Up (Express Records)

„I will always love this track by Diva, who again was another manifestation of women and power in the Hip House rhyme department. I believe this artist did two other tracks that weren’t as well embraced.“

10. TyreeLet the Music Take Control (D.J. International Records)

„A perfect rhyme from the ever powerful giant Tyree Cooper as a rhyme expert and a pioneer of the house music genre in general. This track and its classic sound were inevitably embraced at its release.“

11. Silk Tymes Leather ‎– New Jack Thang (Geffen)

„I always played this track because of it’s humble bass line and rhyme, which always promotes a good mood at clubs and parties to date. It’s titled ‚New Jack Thing‘ because of its later release in the history of the Hip House genre.“

12. Fast Eddie Featuring Sundance ‎– Git On Up (D.J. International Records)

„I think Sundance was the first female Hip House artist to be well embraced within the genre. Definitely, she was the most prominent woman in the genre and this was the track that made her name.“

13. ReeseYou’re Mine (KMS)

„This track followed a massive hit original called ‚Walking on Sunshine‘ (by Rockers Revenge feat. Donnie Calvin from 1982). During a time when sampling a track was not considered purely illegal, this track simply rode the wave of the original and called itself the Hip House version of that hit: A smart business move to take a hit song, get a good rhyme over it and then release it for easy money in the market.“

14. Musto & Bones featuring P.C.P. ‎– Dangerous On The Dancefloor (RCA)

„This massive Chicago hit of came out of nowhere and was embraced on both the FM dial and dance floor underground club scenes citywide. The subject of the track exemplifies the mentality of clubgoers at the time.“

15. Kool Rock Steady & Sundance ‎– Ain’t No Stoppin‘ Hip House (National Anthem Of Hip House) (D.J. International Records)

„A collaboration of the greats and prestigious well known artists in the Hip House genre at the time, this track, again during a time before sampling was not yet illegal, rode the wave of a hit original, and put classic vocal rhymes over the top of a classic track. Effectively, a huge unforgettable jam was absolutely inevitable and successful assured.“

16. Adventures Of Stevie V.Dirty Cash (Money Talks) (Mercury)

„This was a huge hit track in Chicago. I recall seeing the video on MTV and throwing the song in my mix for massive crowds at clubs at its first release in 1990. I always loved the singing vocal more than the rhyme contained within it.“

17. Loose Bruce & A.R.C. Moe Rock ‎– Pick Up On This (Bassment Records)

„I used to love this track for its verse and the energy captured in the recording. The track headlined for several months extensively on Chicago charts.“

18. The Wee Papa Girl RappersWe Know It (Zomba)

„This track has a beautiful brilliant acid line that is as hard and tough as they come. Once more, this track proofs the influence of female vocalists in rhyme and shows power and pride for the woman’s movement in the Hip House genre. I also love their other releases.“

19. Salt `N` PepaPush It (Next Plateau Records Inc.)

„Aside from being a track that I was always shy to say was embraced by my own mother (she might be a bit angry with me for revealing that), ‚Push It‘ did not only cross boundaries between commercial and ‚underground Chicago only‘ success. It also passed the grounds of the Hip House and Hip Hop genres as it was embraced worldwide as both and well played by Chicago House DJs at its release and beyond.“

 


 

Download (MP3, 320 kBit/s, 51:59 Min., 124,9 MB)

1. Kool Rock Steady – You Ain’t Nobody
2. The D.O.C. – Portrait Of A Masterpiece
3. Mr. Lee – Get Busy
4. Mr. Lee – Pump Up Chicago
5. The Wee Papa Girl Rappers – Heat It Up
6. M. Doc ‎– It’s Percussion
7. Def Jef featuring Etta James ‎– Droppin‘ Rhymes On Drums
8. Gary Jackmaster Wallace & Jammin‘ J – Party Time
9. Diva – Get Up
10. Tyree – Let the Music Take Control
11. Silk Tymes Leather ‎– New Jack Thang
12. Fast Eddie featuring Sundance ‎– Git On Up
13. Reese – You’re Mine
14. Musto & Bones featuring P.C.P. ‎– Dangerous On The Dancefloor
15. Kool Rock Steady & Sundance ‎– Ain’t No Stoppin‘ Hip House (National Anthem Of Hip House)
16. Adventures Of Stevie V. – Dirty Cash (Money Talks)
17. Loose Bruce & A.R.C. Moe Rock – Pick Up On This
18. The Wee Papa Girl Rappers – We Know It
19. Salt `N` Pepa – Push It