“The ‘80s was amazing in Chicago. It was the best time for house music,” says Boo Williams, Chicago resident and part of the second wave — alongside the likes of Derrick Carter and Paul Johnson — of the city’s celebrated DJs and producers. “Everybody was into it. I mean, you could see Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Lil Louis, The Hot Mix 5, Larry Heard and many other great DJs and producers educate the masses at this time. The ‘80s here in Chicago was untouchable.”
Hooking up with Mr Green Velvet, aka Curtis Jones’, much celebrated Relief Records in the mid-‘90s, the hard, jackin’ sub-label of Cajual, and later releasing on the tough-as-nails Dutch label Djax, 1996 saw Boo produce his seminal album with the bouncy house of ‘Home Town Chicago’, the first of a series of reissues by Anotherday Records.
From the sublimated disco of ‘Make Some Noise’ to the clattering snares of ‘Smokin’Acid’, it captures the timeless sound of the city, as fresh and relevant now as 15 years ago. “It took a turn in the ‘90s,” reckons Boo on Chicago’s explosion onto the world scene. “All the DJ and bedroom producers just really stepped their game up and a new life was born. Some of them was producing in the mid ‘80s but just didn’t put music out. Then you saw all of their work and labels like DJ International and Dance Mania.”
Since then, however, there’s little doubt that Chicago’s star has — to some extent — waned. “Some of the new kids don’t respect the older producers that laid the foundation of what we call house music today,” Boo complains. “Not all of the new kids are like that, but some really want to learn the history of house music. Learn the history before you try and change the history of house.”
If you want to start, then there’s no better place than Strictly Jaz Unit Muzic (SJU Muzic), the label that Boo now runs with long-time cohort Glen Underground.
“It’s about doing your own label now so you can control what you want to put out,” he concludes of all his years in the game. “On this note I would like to say thank you to all that supported me and Glenn Underground for what we have done for the house music scene. Remember, house music will never die! Love, peace and hair grease.”
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