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Drake and Beyoncé beat the sound to the rhythm of house

The two singers surprised their fans by each taking a turn reminiscent of the great hours of the clubs 30 years ago.

Drakeet Beyoncé surprised by drawing inspiration from house, music from the 1990s: a revival that honors forgotten African-American pioneers of this current of electro music. The Canadian fired first with the album Honestly, Nevermind June 17, four days before break my soul, single from the American. Exit rap or R’n’B: the two megastars play in a house register, a branch of electro widespread in European clubs 30 years ago.

“I’m a little flabbergasted: who saw this coming?”comments for AFP David Blot, French journalist and organizer in the 90s of house parties “Respect” exported from Paris to New York. “Drake with Passionfruit (2017) touched a bit on house but, there, it’s shocking, in the good sense of the term. And, Beyoncé, it’s downright Dance, even if Formation (2016) already had a little house colors. continues the co-author of the graphic novel The song of the machinededicated to the history of house music.

The two stars are well placed in the charts, despite a sometimes rough reception. Drake was targeted on social media, amid alleged betrayal of the African-American community (where his father is from). Like this tweet: “What is this Drake album for white people? This is for EDM clubs”.

Pioneers Frankie Knuckles and the Warehouse

EDM, “Electronic dance music”, is an expression that picks up the most commercial electro music. In the 1990s, Ace of Base, a Swedish group with hits, was one of the symbols of what is also called Eurodance, an outgrowth of house. But Questlove, American drummer of The Roots, a veritable musical bible, has refocused the debate on his social networks, going to the rescue of “D&B”either Drake and Beyoncé.

The musician first denounces a “disdain” towards the importance of black culture in electro. And says he’s happy “let D&B lead the charge”. Because the history of house was also written with African-American DJ-producers. Among musical archaeologists, for the origins of house, a city, a club and a name always come back: Chicago in the 1980s, The Warehouse, Frankie Knuckles, African-American DJ-producer who died in 2014.

The anecdote is famous. One day, Knuckles sees on the front of a bar: “Here we play house music”. He asks the person accompanying him what that means: “That’s the music you play at the Warehouse, Frankie!” At the time, the regulars of the club met at the “House”diminutive of Warehouse. Knuckles said modestly: “People didn’t want disco anymore, we gave them another music”.

In the USA, this music remained indifferent for a long time, no doubt because of the links with the black, Latino and gay communities on the scenes of New York, Chicago and Detroit.

David Blot, Radio Niova

In fact, by mixing several pieces of music, Knuckles rids disco of its artifices, injects a heartbeat groove and a slamming rhythm. Knuckles, a name fallen into oblivion in the United States, like those of other of his peers, Ron Hardy or Marshall Jefferson.

“In the USA, this music has long remained indifferent, no doubt because of the links with the black, Latino, gay communities of the scenes of New York, Chicago or Detroit (techno, for this city)”, completes David Blot, voice of the Radio Nova station in France. In break my soulBeyoncé samples a dance music standard from the 90s, show me love by Robin S. The future album of “QueenB”, Renaissanceon July 29, will it be entirely house?

The album will sound in any case very club, according to the indices of Vogue magazine, the only media that could listen to the disc at Beyoncé. For the photo shoot, she wanted to evoke “the garage scene of the 90s” and the “80s excess”, according to Vogue. Garage house is a branch of music that refers to Paradise Garage, a mythical club in New York in the 70s and 80s where Larry Levan (who died in 1992), an African-American DJ, Knuckles’ mentor, officiated.

The American artist unveiled the cover of her next album on her Instagram where she is followed by 267 million people.


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