We take a look back at the seminal label’s history and its impact on contemporary dance music.
Dance Mania, founded in 1985 by Jesse Saunders, has recently re-released records by seminal house DJs Parris Mitchell, Robert Armani, and Paul Johnson. For the first time since their decade-long hiatus, Dance Mania have promised fans that there will be more music to come, thanks to a recent surge in popularity.
Along with Trax Records and D.J. International, Dance Mania has gone down in the annals of dance music as one of the key proponents of early Chicago house. Spanning two decades, Dance Mania was responsible for the release of numerous house and acid house classics, which can be found in countless DJ crates across the globe. By 1994 and 1995, this prestigious label was helping to define the new sound of ghetto house.
Over time, the label became recognised for its distinctive stamp of raw, breakneck beats, combined with sexually charged voice-overs – an aesthetic that would go on to influence contemporary DJs from Daft Punk to Night Slugs. In the 15 years of its existence, Dance Mania has been at the forefront of house music, acid house and ghetto house.
Here are just a few unmissable tracks that have dropped from Dance Mania:
Otherwise known as Marshall Jefferson, Hercules was one of the original Chicago house DJs. Similar to tracks like ‘Move Your Body’, the sexualised lyrics on ‘7 Ways’ are the reason this song has made it to our short-list. The hook, “seven ways to make you jack” is a blueprint for the lascivious undertones that would go on to underpin most Dance Mania compositions.
Dropped from the Project EP, Parris Mitchell garnered great recognition for this track in ‘95. Testament to its addictive beat and Reggie Hall’s seedy vocals, ‘All Night Long’ is now a ghetto house classic, boasting an endless list of DJs who have borrowed from it ever since.
Released under Deeon Boyd’s alias – Debo – ‘Let Me Bang’ is possibly one of his most revered tracks, not least because of its irresistibly cheesy vocal hook. Becoming Dance Mania’s most ubiquitous artist during the ghetto house period, DJ Deeon has had all manner of artists request that they can remix this timeless classic.
With far-reaching ripples in the world of dance, this style of ghetto and Chicago house became instrumental in the development of future sounds, like Chicago Juke & footwork. Artists like Rashad, DJ Spinn and DJ Slugo took the baton and are still filling dancefloors today.