It’s the 1980’s. In a former three-story factory turned nightclub at 206 South Jefferson Street in Chicago, a sound was being created that would eventually sweep the globe. It was there at the club known as the Warehouse, a gathering spot for Black and Latino gay men in Chicago, that DJs like DJ Frankie Knuckles gave birth to what would become House music (a reference to it musical birthplace).
Similar to Rock ‘N Roll and country music, the Black origins of House music have been all but forgotten, but it may not stay that way if two Toronto DJs have anything to say about it.
4Korners, known by many as the official DJ of the Toronto Raptors, and producer Ashton Adams have released their debut three-song EP Our House. Known together as 401 WST, inspired by the highway that connects their hometowns of Toronto and Cambridge, Ontario, the duo aims to buck the trend of focusing on commercialization and more on the old school values of bringing people together and having a good time. Their first task is to pay homage to the Black origins of House music and take it back.
“This project was inspired by the sound and feeling of original House and Tech music from the 80’s”, 4 Korners told SHIFTER.
“A lot of what people know as House, Dance, and what some call EDM these days is missing the essence of what it’s supposed to be all about and where it all came from. House music is Black. We come from a long line of innovators in this music. Their legacy is our birthright. The music is for everyone, but let’s not forget to salute the pioneers. Without them, it wouldn’t exist. That’s what 401 WST is about. Taking House music back.”
The project opens with “Alive” featuring Kitchener rapper Dom Vallie, an artist you should be paying attention to if you aren’t already. Infusing traditional House music with some Hip-Hop elements, the track explores various tempos, keeping listeners on their toes with different drum patterns.
The House and Hip-Hop fusion continues on “Real Quick” featuring 100m’s. Combining modern Trap sounds and Hip-hop bravado with a deep rolling bassline and kickdrums, we’re once again taken on a rollercoaster of tempos and sounds.
Then the project closes with “Do The Damn Thang”. With its rolling bassline and reverberating synths, this is the most traditional House track on the project. It instantly takes you back to the days of watching Electric Circus on MuchMusic, a time when the Black origins of House music were still front of mind.
One thing you’ll realize is this project has more “feeling” than other electronic albums. You’ll also notice its “accessibility”. The infusion of Hip-hop makes Our House enjoyable and accessible to OG, casual and brand new House music fans alike.
Our House is available on all major streaming platforms.