Category: People

Frankie Knuckles

I put together this Storify post of various social media hits and remixes to celebrate the life and times of the legendary house music DJ/producer, Frankie Knuckles, who will always be known as the Godfather of House.

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Kanye West SNL performance of Black Skinhead

Love him or hate him, Kanye West is back, and this time he’s not playing games. He’s going straight for the jugular on race, dropping lines that reflect on basketball star, Lebron James’ game jersey being burned by fans in Cleveland after James decided to play for the Miami Heat. How he’s been particularly judged by the media due to his relationship with Kim Kardashian, a white woman. Saying that even thought he’s attained this status, he still has to be careful of who he brings home with the media laying in wait at his doorstep to turn around a news story that will tell the world who he’s seen with.

His lyrics also contain references about how corporate America can’t control him or what he does, despite the money and the contracts thrown at him. He’s just going to continue running at warp speed and making his way in the life the only way he knows how. There’s no turning back. You’re either going to watch him or you’re not, but if you do, then get ready because he’s not going to play by the rules as they are set by others – specifically corporations, white society and media.

Without question, it’s arguably one of the most powerful songs in Hip-Hop today. It’s a game changer in terms of style. substance, beats and instrumentation. Whatever happens, this track is going to be hard to follow. I’m not going to say it’s equivalent to the legendary Public Enemy track, Fight The Power, chiefly because Kanye is talking about himself and his view of how the world treats him, while Chuck D. is looking at it from a “we” and not “me” perspective.

In Kanye’s world view, it’s always all about him – what they’re saying about him, how they are trying to bring him down and how he is going to still be standing. While his argument is absolutely valid and real, his continued focus on himself as the catalyst for others to hate him because of his skin color and what he does plays into an ego that, while touching on the issues of others, always comes back to what is being done to him and how he is living and dealing with that everyday. The question, is it unfair? Many times, absolutely. But if you’re an artist and you live in the spotlight, you’re certainly asking for attention and you must live in the glare of the spotlight that feeds the beast – the media. With it comes all the trappings of wealth, fame and success, but it also comes with media scrutiny and public reactions to moments when what you do is not perceived a unacceptable, regardless of who you are, what you do or the color of your skin. Like the time when Kanye decided to interject himself into the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards presentation for Best Video by taking over the mic during the presentation to the winner, Taylor Swift, and announcing that Beyonce should have won for her video, “Single Ladies.”

If you’re Kanye, is it always because you’re black in an unfair world? Or, is simply because you’re Kanye and the ego that drives your talent is so outsized, you only can see things the way you perceive them to be? It’s definitely a little of both, but if you listen to this new track, the perception is that Kanye will always be himself and others will judge as they do, but he’s keeping it moving in the only direction he knows how and whatever they do or say, they can’t stop him. As a black man in America, he makes a strong case, but he never wants to be judged for what mistakes he makes in the process, which is unfortunate. Because everyone, at one time or another, has to step back and take a look at their actions and ask themselves, am I doing the right thing, regardless of the color of my skin?

Anyway, it’s worth a listen. It really is that good. In Kanye’s world, his perceptions are real for him and that’s all that matters. It takes an artist of incredible strength to be able to light up the mic with as tough as these lyrics are to digest. It’s a portrait of our society – one that is as real, brutal and honest as an artist can get. Hard to digest for most for sure, but give it to Kanye for saying what needs to be said.

UPDATE: After listening to this track again, let me restate my position on the “we” vs “me” comment I made in this post. Maybe I missed something and it took the lyrical scientists over at Rap Genius to school me.

In this verse, Kanye shines the spotlight on kids in urban communities, especially Chicago, where Kanye is from, acting like “goons.”

Stop all that goon shit
Early morning cartoon shit
This is goon shit
Fuck up your whole afternoon shit

It’s a reflection on how kids are joining gangs and trying to be tough by killing each other in the streets of Chicago. It’s a call to all those listening that their way of life is, in fact, cartoonish and silly.

In another new track also performed on SNL called, New Slave, Kanye raps about some black Americans buying into the culture of spending on luxury goods. Despite the success of Black Americans in Hip-Hop and the trappings of wealth and acclaim it has brought them, in Kanye’s view, it’s still subservient to buy into the consumer culture, because black Americans who have attained wealth continue to enrich those who are in power by buying these luxury goods. That, no matter how you slice it, slavery still exists – but, it’s now mental slavery that he equates to profit taking from the purchase of luxury goods by the black community that continues to enslave the community, in place of the physical slavery experienced by those who came before them. It’s a powerful, raw and controversial statement, because its some in Hip-Hop that perpetuate the idea that if you make money, you should spend it on bling and display your wealth. That begets the question, if you are critical of that culture, then why buy an $11M mansion in Beverly Hills? It’s a hard question to answer, that’s for sure. One one hand, don’t be part of the machine, but on the other, live within the machine. It all depends on whether it’s on your own terms. There’s a level of hypocrisy in the statement that undercuts the message, but the message is important nonetheless.


Storified: Pete Tong’s New Show On iHeartRadio’s Evolution Channel

Here’s news from around the web on Clear Channel’s and Pete Tong’s new collaboration on’s Evolution channel. Tong brings his #AllGonePeteTong radio show to the USA along with a tour and new release on the venerable UK label, Defected Records.

Facebook to…Lady Gaga?

Since Lady Gaga hit global recognition she has affectionately called her fans Little Monsters. Well now, these Little Monsters have an online home.

What is Think Pinterest meets Facebook, but is dating Twitter at the same time. And all they ever talk about is how much they love Lady Gaga.

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Netmix Interview: Brett Deutsch of Crossed Over Entertainment

Tony Zeoli interviews Brett Deutsch, President/CEO of Crossed Over Entertainment, an independent music promotion and marketing company, about working music to Internet and terrestrial radio stations and DJs.

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UPDATE: David Henney’s Cause Of Death Was Cited As GI Tract Bleeding Attributed To Chronic Alcoholism

According to Leslie Doyle, who is a long-time friend of David Henney, she reports that he succumbed to GI tract bleeding caused by chronic alcoholism. When asked if we should make this information public, Leslie responded, "I think if this information can help someone else seek treatment (for their alcoholism), then that's a good thing."

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Dance Music Industry Promotion Exec, David Henney Has Died at 50

Dance music has lost one of its more revered industry promotion executives.

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Virtual Rebirth of Music Legends

Digital Domain Media Group are the creators behind Tupac’s virtual rebirth. The technology used is an advanced rendition of what was seen last year in Europe with Mariah Carey, beaming her image across multiple stages simultaneously.

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Sergio Goncalves and Joe Berinato from Pitch Control Marketing talk social music marketing and promotion

Netmix founder, Tony Zeoli, interviews Sergio Goncalves and Joe Berinato from Pitch Control Marketing, a leading dance music promotion and marketing company, about all things dance music marketing and promotion in an era of social music.

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Billboard’s Kerri Mason blog post about the state of DJing sets it straight

  1. Kerri’s tweet announced the post at 3:37 pm on June 26th. We caught hundreds of tweets and RTs (re-tweets), pushing this amazing blog post on her new blog ( reports over 1,500 clicks!) around the world in a matter of seconds. Her premise: “Artists are getting comfortable, some fans are starting to notice, and the ancients are rhapsodizing about the way we used to do it (for you younglings, that’s a track reference).”
    Contemplating Jacob Schulman’s (Dancing Astronaut) plea for some successful touring DJs to stop “pressing play,” Mason gave us her reason for publishing the post: “…the only reason I’m writing this now is because someone else – someone who is experiencing this music for the first time – finally said it himself. For an old fan like me, Schulman’s final paragraph, a direct plea to DJs, is practically a tearjerker: “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to play a song that you released in 2011, 2010, or 1995 for that matter. Don’t be afraid to play a new song from an up-and-comer that has the potential to make people ‘go bananas.’ Don’t be afraid to omit your latest single for once. Don’t be afraid to leave us wanting more.”
  2. HotWaterInc
    I’m not a blogger and rarely write in the first person. But here’s a manifesto abt DJs, inspired by recent events.
    Tue, Jun 26 2012 12:37:17
  3. Kerri went on to describe her experiences in DJ culture working the coat room at the legendary underground club, Vinyl, where Danny Tenaglia was known to set out on extraordinary journeys through musical history for hours on end, leaving his dedicated crowed breathless as nights turned into day and punters would head home in the morning sunshine, surely exhausted from experiencing an orgy of sounds that only Tenaglia could deftly blend together, only to do it all over again the following week.

    We’re not going to go through the entire opus here. You should click the link, read and get educated on what it was like to live and breathe DJ culture from the eyes, ears and soul of a child of the Electronic Dance Music movement. From someone who has dedicated her life to the exploration and dissemination of information about the artists, the music and the business of DJ culture.
  4. Lauren Lipsay
    If you care about music – or enjoy reading smart, heartfelt writing – you need to check out self-proclaimed “dance music lifer” Kerri Mason’s take on the state of the genre.
    Tue, Jun 26 2012 12:49:19
  5. Industry veterans and services hit the RT button on Kerri’s epic post. From DJ/producer Scott Wozniak and Beatport to author Bill Brewster, Ultra’s David Waxman and promoter Rob Fernandez, the applause grew louder and compliments rained down on Kerri’s personal and HotWaterIn accounts through Twitter and Facebook.
  6. ScottWozniak
    @HotWaterInc Beautiful article, Kerri. Just what I needed at this precise moment in time.
    Thu, Jun 28 2012 11:38:20
  7. beatport
    Kerri Mason Offers Balanced Outlook On The Current State Of EDM Culture:
    Thu, Jun 28 2012 11:42:24
  8. djhistory
    Brilliant piece by Kerri Mason (aka @HotWaterInc) on EDM and the art of the DJ:
    Thu, Jun 28 2012 13:41:47
  9. HotWaterInc
    Bill, thx so much. Your work has always been such an inspiration. MT @djhistory Brilliant piece by Kerri Mason on EDM and the art of the DJ
    Thu, Jun 28 2012 14:07:50
  10. RobFernandezNYC
    @HotWaterInc nice article kerri-but if i wanted intelligence i wouldn’t be on twitter!! and the paradise garage opened in 1977 #askbenny
    Tue, Jun 26 2012 17:28:10
  11. HotWaterInc
    @RobFernandezNYC C’mon Rob, you love me for my brain! If @bennysoto confirms I will update the year…
    Tue, Jun 26 2012 17:38:13