How Frankie Knuckles Inspired Our Upcoming Streaming Broadcast Playlist Algorithm

fkwstreet It’s too early and premature for me to write up something about Frankie Knuckles because to be honest, Frankie Knuckles was really a late 1970s to early 1980s icon and I was still a kid. I noticed only the Guardian UK had it right about Frankie Knuckles legacy while other clueless people are playing “The Whistle Song” as if that was the pinnacle of Frankie Knuckles accomplishment. Frankie Knuckles true legacy was his low-key accomplishment of keeping the vibe of disco alive from the late 70s to the early 80s as it morph into house music. Frankie Knuckles came from New York Paradise Garage where his partner in crime Larry Levan would keep the vibe of the disco hip club culture going. One of the skills I’m glad the Guardian article pointed out was how Larry and Frankie mastered the art of cutting tape – this is actually cutting a reel-to-reel recording tape and physically pasting it to create a loop and you have to cut at the right spot. This was before looping and sampling was invented. And what Frankie and Larry would do is play loops making long rare grooves of songs that put people in a trance on the dance floor. This is what Frankie Knuckles brought to Chicago and kept it underground which made it cool among the youth like me. Early house music was rare grooves of post-disco rhythms mostly from Europe and what Frankie Knuckles done was use those rhythms to create a vibe in his long DJ sessions. When I was young, I listen to Frankie Knuckles but I was a pre-teen and found myself impatient as Frankie played “hey hey, let’s all chant!” and the guitar groove for 10 minutes and I actually cringed when I hear that song, even today. But as I grew up later, I learned what Frankie Knuckles was doing and that is why I and other Chicago cats can DJ a lot different than other cats. We learned how to take songs and make them rare grooves and trance out the crowd to dance for hours and hours throughout the night. When I grew up and went to a party hosted by Frankie Knuckles and other Chicago House DJs, I met this beautiful house sista that anybody who been to the Warehouse would know her – the light-skinned thick sista with the freckles who basically lived there every weekend. Now, let’s call out the contrast – you go to any other club format like rap or r&b or whatever, the guys are asking a girl to go out and dance to one song and they leave after the song is over. But with Chicago house scene, you dancing the entire night away for hours with that one person you just met and asked to dance. First they play Loose Joints “Is It All Over My Face” and you yelling “Hell Yeah!” and the song kicks in “You Got Me Love Dancing” then you got Cherchez La Femme and everybody belling out the “OO-EE-OO” part at the end together. Then they play Stevie Wonder “All I Do” and everybody knows the words to the entire song and singing it as they dance. This was not about music, this was the positive experience with the whole club engaged on the dance floor interacting with the house DJs on every song and dancing for hours and hours. I really loved that freckled sista and how we danced for hours and anybody who been to the Warehouse know her – she gave me her number and I lost it and was mad and this is a true story and she is a real person – the biggest love I lost and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes was being played also. I will go into this topic a little deeper down the road but that is the real Chicago house experience I grew up in where Frankie Knuckles and the other Chicago House DJs create that tight-knit “house party” experience and spin grooves all night long dancing hours and hours is how I decided to approach our upcoming streaming broadcast. I already blogged about this before – we are not going to play current Top 40 hit after hit like commercial radio such as Evolution or BPM. Instead I have worked with DJs and used my own experience to play similar tracks after tracks to keep a vibe going, to keep a beat going and allow people who listen to the stream broadcast to enjoy themselves song after song. Besides, there is no monetary benefit for a streaming broadcast to play only the popular dance tracks. I have been honing the playlist to the point I’m hearing one good track after another and keeping the same bpm pace and the same rhythm and style and it doesn’t matter if the current song just been release and the next song is 25 years old, the continuous groove that Frankie Knuckles perfected is what we incorporated into our streaming playlist. I can tell you that this format will destroy existing EDM and other radio stations that believe in only playing Top 40 hits. I do not believe in a playlist of hits, anybody with an on-demand music subscription can do that. Instead I want to bring that same experience I grew up in bringing a continuous groove and vibe that Frankie Knuckles brought to us in Chicago and he and the other Chicago DJs mastered.