British dance label Strut have uploaded a 15 minute documentary chronicling the history of Chicago’s legendary Dance Mania imprint.
Started by Ray Barney in 1985, the label went on to become hugely influential in the development of American dance music, overseeing many of the rise and fall of many trends. The label’s early period saw it put out releases from those pushing the ‘classic’ House sound, with the likes of Marshall Jefferson (wh0 appeared as ‘Hercules’), Farley Keith (who appeared as ‘The Housemaster Boyz’) and Lil Louis all featuring towards the latter half of the 80’s. Progressing into various forms of Hip-Hop/House crossover (some of which admittedly have aged rather badly), Dance Mania arguably became most famous for spearheading the ‘Ghetto House’ movement. Parris Mitchell, Traxmen, DJ Deeon, DJ Slugo and Wax Master Maurice were just some of the names pushing the stripped back, sexualised, profanity heavy sound that is enjoying a renaissance of sorts at the moment.
Closing down in ’99, Dance Mania has been resurrected in recent years with a slew of reissues and new releases. One new contribution to the enormous Dance Mania cannon comes in the form of ‘Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1985-1996’, out today in partnership with Strut. The 24 track compilation (order here) , the label’s first ever retrospective, is complimented perfectly by Strut’s short film, seen below. A timely retelling of the Dance Mania story delivered by key players such as Barney, Mitchell, Duane Buford and Wax Master, its a good watch for anybody wanting to brush up on their dance music history.