Thursday, Feb 27 2014 | 21:26
Image: 1585746 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, Dance Mania hit the ground running with its second release in ’86, the incendiaryHardcore 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 Keithaka Farkey “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. Produced in association with Dance Mania, the release is compiled by Conor Keeling (DJ behind the popular "Teachers" Daft Punk influences online mix) with help from Miles Simpson of Ransom Note. Physical formats feature full label history and artist interviews by DJ Chrissy Murderbot alongside rare photos.


1. Hercules - 7 Ways (Club)
2. Victor Romeo featuring Leatrice Brown - Love Will Find A Way (Club)
3. The House Master Boyz And The Rude Boy Of House - House Nation
4. Duane & Co – J.B. Traxx
5. Vincent Floyd - I Dream You
6. Da Posse featuring Martell - Searchin’ Hard
7. Club Style - Crazy Wild
8. Jammin’ The House Gerald - Black Women (Club)
9. Tyree - Nuthin’ Wrong
10. Strong Souls – Twinkles
11. 3.2.6 – Falling (Armando’s House mix)
12. Rhythm II Rhythm – A Touch Of Jazz (Lifestyles Of The Rich mix)


1. DJ Funk - House the Groove
2. Paul Johnson – Feel My M.F. Bass
3. DJ Funk – The Original Video Clash: Video Clash II (Street mix)
4. Parris Mitchell Project feat. Wax Master - Ghetto Shout Out!!
5. DJ Deeon – Da Bomb
6. Houz’ Mon – Fear The World
7. Vincent Floyd – I’m So Deep
8. Tim Harper – Toxic Waste (Club mix)
9. Robert Armani – Ambulance
10. DJ Deeon – House-O-Matic
11. Traxmen & Eric Martin – Hit It From The Back
12. Top Cat – Work Out

For More Information, Check Out: Available from 07.02.2014
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