Of course I know the lyrics in these songs are mad risqué, but the energy behind them was undeniable. These records brought people, music, style, and dancing together like no other. I also witnessed it's innovation and impact on Detroit music, and dance culture across the universe. Tell you the truth, nobody today would know how to Jit or what twerking is without booty music. In Michigan, Ghettotech or what we called "Booty Music" was created and was actively shaking car systems, booties, and clubs in the mid to late 90s. Ghettotech was a Detroit-bred crossover genre between Techno and Hip- Hop, usually played at fast tempos (140-150) with an emphasis on heavy bass, sexual, and pornographic lyrics that was dominating the radio and clubs.
I remember when Missy Elliott's "Lose Control" ft. Fat Man Scoop came out in 2005. Missy's songs and videos were always exciting and made folks move in the club. Always futuristic and creative. The beats and flows she had on every song made people wanna dance. So when everybody heard this song they went crazy.
- Ranked as high as number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- The song was certified gold by the RIAA.
- Won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video
- Nominated for Best Rap Song.
- Nominated for The Soul Train Music Awards and The Michael Jackson Award for Best R&B/Soul song.
- Nominated for Video of the Year at the 2006 BET Awards.
For me, this song immediately got my attention for another special reason. It was because Missy sampled a favorite hometown song of mine called "Clear" by Cybotron from 1983. When I first heard "Clear" on the radio, it literally sounded like the future. I was probably around 4-5 years old. I had no idea who made the song then. I just knew what it sounded like and I loved it. In my imagination, I pictured these futuristic soulful black robots just jamming on synths and drum machines.
Later I would learn that the way Cybotron hit me at first listen was the same way Kraftwerk hit Juan Atkins when he first heard the legendary Dusseldorf, German Electronic group. It was on Electrifying Mojo’s Midnight Funk Association radio program. Mojo was a DJ who used to cosmically invite and introduce his listeners to different artists they've never heard of. He introduced Michigan to artists like Prince, The Human League, B-52's, and Gary Numan. Next thing you know, Kraftwerk’s music made it's way into the clubs - hitting Detroit’s legendary Soul Train-inspired dance show the Scene, then later the New Dance Show.
There was another record that I heard around the same age that sounded so similar in style, that I thought it was from the same group. It was Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force's "Planet Rock", which was released a year before (82'). Little did I know, I was witnessing two new genres of music, Techno and Hip-Hop, simultaneously grow to take over the world in real time. By the time I started high school, Ghettotech and Hip-Hop were blooming into their Golden Era. One was my true love and one was my guilty pleasure.
Detroit Ghettotech also incorporated Chicago Juke and Miami Bass music that I would also discover as a kid sitting next to the radio in Ypsilanti, Michigan. When Detroit DJs would mix in some 2 Live Crew, L'Trimm, 95 South, Tag Team, 69 Boyz, Quad City DJ's, Jam Pony Express, and DJ Magic Mike records I was listening and dancing. When I played basketball as a freshman in high school, a teammate named Rob Murray Jr. would hype up our squad by chanting the low synth sound in the breakdown of MC A.D.E' s "Da Train" as we would warm up before games. Nobody ever picked up on what we were singing though.
(about 18 seconds in and....)
Although I was too young to be in the club, I learned about many of these records from watching The New Dance Show on the local WGPR (Channel 62) at dinner time. My older sister Kendrah and I loved watching that show. It was entertaining and inspiring to see young black folks, smiling, dancing, and being free on TV. We were cracking up laughing at some of the people dancing. Never a dull moment. There was a guy who always wore a cape and dressed up like Dracula imitating James Brown foot moves. RJ Watkins hosted and Jesse the Body was always mixing all the JAMS. When I go back and listen to those mixes today, they definitely serve as a time capsule taking me right back to childhood. Man, the music mixes were on point and classic!!
Detroit radio would broadcast DJs live on WJLB, 96.3FM, and 105.9FM from a warehouse or a dance club on Friday and Saturday nights. I remember clubs like Legends and Maxie's. Even if you weren't going to the club, your car, house, or hotel room party would instantly transform into a club if you were listening. Gary Chandler, DJ Godfather, DJ Assault, Fingers, DJ De, DJ WaxTax- N- Dre were household names. At Pep Rallies and half time performances at basketball school games, ladies would put together routines by editing and taking 20-30 second snippets of Ghettotech songs off mixtapes that were circulating heavy.
Jitting was also a form of dance that originated in Detroit that was very popular along with Ghettotech music.
You were fly if you had a dance routine back then.
You were even flyer if you knew how to Jit.
I didn't know how to Jit good at all, but my friends around me were fresh with it.
This is what it looked and felt like..
There are several moments in my musical career where I would channel these memories as inspiration when producing.
Here's are a few of them!
I put this mix together to celebrate Mayer Hawthorne and I's Jaded Incorporated album The Big Knock in 2014. In this mix I play a mix of our influences, including New Wave, Detroit Ghettotech, and Chicago Juke music. R.I.P. DJ Rashad
I made this mix to celebrate my album Elelator back in 2015. That's the legendary Electrifying Mojo's voice in the beginning of the mix. A snippet from his radio show live from WCBN in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lots of joints I heard growing up in Michigan.
Take a listen to a mix of some of my sonic inspirations of Detroit Electronic music, Italo Disco, and other great music.
RSXGLD "True ft. Royce 5'9, JMSN, DJ Assault
JADED INCORPORATED "The Big Knock"
I'm sure you'll hear more in the future.