How Beyoncé and Drake are bringing ’90s house music to life

Beyoncé and Drake (Image: AFP/Chris Delmas, Robyn Beck via ETX Daily Up)

No doubt: we will be dancing this summer to the sound of house music. Canadian rapper Drake announced the revival of this key 1990s genre with his latest album “Honestly, Nevermind”, before Beyoncé followed up with her new single “Break My Soul”. A look back at the history of this long underestimated musical movement.

Drake seems sure that a house music revival is on the cards. He is moreover so convinced of it that he was greatly inspired by this ultra-danceable musical genre to produce his seventh and last album, “Honestly, Nevermind”, which he unexpectedly released on June 17. With its house sounds, this disc contrasts with the usual style of the Canadian rapper. This is the first time that Drake has released an album marking such a clear break with the mix of rap, R’n’B and pop that made him so successful.

He’s not the only one to draw inspiration from house music for a recent musical project. Beyoncé took a similar route with “Break My Soul,” the lead single from her seventh album, “Renaissance,” which will be released on July 29. This new track is based on a classic 90s song, “Show Me Love” by Robin S, as well as Big Freedia’s “Explode”.

These two radically different songs intertwine in a very rhythmic track, in which “Queen Bey” touches on our desire to break free and come back after the pandemic.

“With all the isolation and injustice of the past year, I think we’re all ready to get away, travel, love and laugh again,” the artist said. Harper’s Bazaar last year about the next album. “I feel a renaissance emerging and I want to help nurture that escape in any way I can.”

A musical genre born from the ashes of disco

This emancipatory discourse fits perfectly into the house genre, since this musical current emerged at the end of the 80s in Chicago and New York from the ashes of disco. Originally, there were DJs like Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles, tired of scratching 45s for revelers all night. They then abandon their turntables for synthesizers, drum machines and samplers.

These amateur tools allowed them to create a new kind of music characterized by a minimal beat, a bass line close to funk and above all, very short extracts from well-known singles like “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson or “Let No Man Tear to Pieces by First Choice. The success was immediate. Hordes of night owls, mostly from black and Latino communities, would gather at nightclubs such as Paradise Garage in New York and the Warehouse in Chicago to dance to the beat of house music.

It was not until 1986 that this musical genre was exported internationally, particularly to the United Kingdom. That year, “Love Can’t Turn Around” by Farley Funk and Jesse Saunders made a surprise appearance on the UK charts. Another iconic song of the genre, “Jack Your Body” by Steve Hurley, even topped the UK charts a year later. Soon house music emerged from the underground clubs and began attracting the interest of superstars like Madonna, Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul.

While house music quickly spawned spin-offs and spin-offs, it never ceased to be a major influence on the music industry. As such, it’s no surprise the genre is back on the charts, carried by Beyoncé and Drake. It is likely that other musicians will follow their example. House music’s ancestor, disco, experienced a similar resurgence two years ago. At the time, Kylie Minogue even named her 15th and final album “Disco”. How long before seeing an album called “House Music”? CC


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