Celebrate Black History Month with These Iconic DJ’s

Note: Originally published in February of 2016 and republished in 2017, this article is being republished today in honor of the amazing never-ending list of iconic DJs that have graced our scene with their illustrious art and careers.

Since the beginning of time there have been countless individuals who helped shape the music landscape. In celebration of Black History Month, we took some time to honor some of the most iconic DJ’s of recent times:

*Artists are listed in alphabetical order

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Frankie Knuckles: The (Ware)House Legacy

By the time the ’80s had come, North Jefferson was perceived as a desolate industrial area west of Chicago. But at the corner of the city and in the heart of an area that had seemed to have been forgotten by God, one venue was able to re-ignite and convey the spirituality of an entire community and transform itself into its very own temple. We are talking about the mythical Warehouse, the club/warehouse that sat right at the center of a 3-level edifice on that dark and sweaty party of town, celebrating every Saturday night the most physical of collective rites: dance music.

Frankie Knuckles, the great master of ceremonies, DJ, and  storyteller would one day recount the many years spent behind the Warehouse console: “The amazing thing was, despite being full of people of the Midwest, kids with their feet on the ground grown in bread and cereal, the environment was full of feeling. For many who came, that was the church.” Yeah, the reference to religion is rather recurring – and let’s say it – often forced to dance music, but when it comes to something unique and unrepeatable built by Frankie Knuckles at the Warehouse, then it could really not be more fitting. In an old interview with Chicago’s WMAQ broadcaster, Knuckles was ready to remember the magic at the old club: “When you’re faced with three thousand people, you’re faced with three different personalities. And the amazing thing is when those three thousand become one. In church the same happens. When the priest starts, when the choir starts, at a precise moment, when things are coming to the apex, the entire room becomes one thing. And that’s the most amazing thing.”

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Frankie Knuckle’s First Ever Remix To Receive a Reissue on Dark Entries

Frankie Knuckles

Thirty years after Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House Music, churned out his first ever official remix, that very same work is receiving a reissue courtesy of San Francisco imprint Dark Entries.

The original track entitled “I’m Going To Go” was produced by Michele Violante for his Jago project, and released in 1983 by Full Time Records. It received notoriety in the dance music scene thanks to repeated plays at the infamous Paradise Garage by the one and only Larry Levan.

It wasn’t until 1985 that Full Time Records reached out to Levan’s good friend and colleague, Chicago house master Frankie Knuckles, to remix the track. Although it may appear odd to some that the remix is officially called the “Plant Mix” and Knuckles name is misspelled as  “Frankye Knuckles” in the credits, it remains his first ever official remix.

Set to be released on the 20th of August, the reissue will include remastered pressings of the original vocal version, instrumental, and of course the Frankie Knuckles remix.

You can listen to the Frankie Knuckles remix of “I’m Going To Go” below.

#TBT Series: Relive Some Of The Best Frankie Knuckles Moments Caught on Video



The 31st of March is a special and bittersweet date for house music fans all over the world. I still remember exactly where I was in Chicago two years ago when the city and the world were hit with the heart-breaking news that Frankie Knuckles, The Godfather of House, had passed away due to complications linked to a diabetes conditions.

At first the date became symbol of loss, but it has since evolved to a day of celebration for the immense legacy Frankie has left behind. His contributions to the world of dance and electronic music span four decades. Frankie was born in the Bronx in New York City and later moved to Chicago, following his work with the influential Larry Levan – a childhood friend and fellow DJ. He played a pivotal role in the development and popularization of house music in Chicago in the late 70’s and early 80’s, his impact continuing right up until the sad day of his passing as a world-touring DJ and resident at the iconic Smart Bar Chicago.

When I had the immense luck of moving from Europe to the States to go to college, I chose Chicago. That choice allowed me to see Frankie work his magic behind the decks on several occasions, and to meet him after one of his performances too. We had drinks and star-struck, I thanked him for everything he did and how much his life had shaped mine. While I am sure he had heard those words countless of times before, he took the time to ask about me and encourage my curiosity and love for house and electronic music. Being in Chicago for his passing and its anniversary a year later was nothing short of touching. Our city mourned, but our city also celebrated his life the way we do best: with music. Thousands, old and young, of all races, gender, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds united in front of the Chicago’s symbolic “Bean” in Millenium Park to pay homage to Frankie and the gift he gave us, an official tribute organized by the City of Chicago. It hit me that evening that even in his death, Frankie and house music continues and will forever continue to unite.

Last year, two special celebrations in Frankie’s honor were held at Gramaphone Records and Smart Bar Chicago, both broadcast by Boiler Room with music by The Black Madonna, Hyperactive, Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini, Gene Farris, Mike Dunn, Jamie 3:26, Andrew Emil, Alan King and Elbert Phillips. Energetic, electric, passionate and bustling with emotions, both events were both a tribute and a party in his honor. The poster from that day hangs in my living room and will forever be a part of my home.

While Frankie’s career certainly dates back to years that precede the advent of social media, cellphones and the easy access to video recordings, we are lucky enough to have several videos that immortalize who he was as a man  and artist. Herein, I have compiled some of the best Frankie Knuckle moments ever caught on video with the aim to provide a small glimpse into the dance floors  and lives he shaped across the years.

Frankie rose to international fame while a resident DJ at The Warehouse, where he mixed disco classics, unusual indie-label soul, some rock and European synth-disco in such a rare and unique way that a new genre was born: House, a shortening of the club’s name where it was founded. In 1986 Frankie went on to open Power House, his very own club in the city. Chicago-based filmmaker Phil Ranstrom was there for opening night, capturing the atmosphere and interviewing the Godfather himself.

The year was 1989 and illegal raves were in full bloom both Stateside and across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom. This video captures the power of Frankie’s music, as ravers dance to his timeless rework of “Your Love,” released in 1987 with Jamie Principle on vocals.

This special short interview sees DJ’s Frankie Knuckles, David Morales and Tony Humphries interviewed at The Underground Network in 1993.

This undated interview, possibly from the early to mid 90s, takes a look at Frankie’s world, the world of house music. It travels from Chicago, visiting iconic venues and Gramaphone Records where he shopped for music, to the big clubs in Ibiza that his legacy helped found.

Frankie remained an important part in Chicago’s house music scene. In this short 2005 video he played the Chicago SummerDance Series in Grant Park, a traveling DJ series organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

There is no doubt that Frankie remained as popular as ever both at home and overseas. In 2007 he performed as guest DJ at Exit Festival, held within the Petrovaradin Fortress in the city of Novi Sad, Serbia.

In early 2012 Frankie was in London to lecture alongside James Murphy for the Red Bull Music Academy. FACT TV had the pleasure of catching up with him at Red Bull’s South London studio for a two-part interview on inspiration, Philadelphia as a music mecca, and the importance of reading the liner notes.

On New Year’s Eve 2012 England’s Channel 4 held a House Party TV night which featured the Chicago legend. Soulful, groovy and as masterful as ever, it perfectly suited the welcoming of the new year for anyone watching and listening.

Next we fast forward to the 9th of May in 2013, when Frankie Knuckles headlined a stacked Boiler Room lineup with the likes of Mike Servito, House of House and Juan Maclean also performing. This NYC sixty-minute performance is quintessential Frankie Knuckles, blending elements of Chicago house with newer sounds in a way that only he could.

While these clips only provide a small look into Frankie’s world, they also serve as a reminder of the decades of influence and happiness he spread thanks to his music and infectious personality. He continues to touch the lives of millions every day, and will continue to do so for countless years to come.

Thank you #FKAlways.


Other articles in 6AM’s #TBT Series:

What Was It Like to Party in New York City in the Early 90’s?


Frankie Knuckles Mural To Be Re-Created


A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign has been created recently to raise $2,000 to re-create a mural of Frankie Knuckles as a tribute to his legacy. The Godfather of House unfortunately passed away early last year due to medical complications, and his legacy continues to live on.

To commemorate and memorialize the legend, a group of graffiti artists and DJs created a mural on the Logan Square building in Chicago. Unfortunately, due to building renovations the mural has since been painted over. DJ Michael Tupak along with graffiti artist BboyB and Flash ABC, who worked on the first mural, are willing to recreate the Frankie Knuckles mural in a new location. They have two possible locations in mind, but believe that Rogers Park is to be the most promising.

It has been a little over a week since the campaign started, and they have raised half of the money needed so far. If there is any left over from the fund they plan on donating it to the Frankie Knuckles Foundation.

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The Warehouse Film: Launch Party And Frankie Knuckles Benefit

frankie knuckles and the warehouseThe Warehouse, Chicago, and the early days of house music will be the subject of a new feature-length film focusing on the “Godfather of house music,” Frankie Knuckles, as well as  Robert Williams, owner of the Warehouse. The film, entitled “The Warehouse,” will be produced by Bob Teitel (Barber Shop),  Billy Dec (Rockit Ranch), Joe Shanahan (Metro/Double Door), and Randy Crumpton (The Truth). Production for “The Warehouse” will kick-off with a launch party and benefit for the Frankie Knuckles Foundation (FKF) at the Underground in Chicago. 100% of the proceeds will go to the foundation. Read more