Dante Sanders may be only 21, but the man – mostly known to the world as DJ Taye – can still give you a quick crash course on Chicago’s house music scene.
You can find out a lot about Chicago house music when talking to Sanders. For starters, Taye mostly works in juke and footwork, two genres of music that originated within the Windy City limits. Juke is a faster form of ghetto house (Taye’s compositions usually feature speeded-up samples sliced, diced and julienned for your listening/dancing pleasure), while footwork is the street dance-heavy style that evolved from it. According to Sanders, who was toying with becoming a DJ back when he was in middle school, he was right there when those sounds were on the rise.
“So, I came up in the younger generation, like after Chicago’s ghetto house movement, in the ’90s or the early 2000s, so to speak,” says Sanders, on the phone from Atlanta. “It was like, the music was changing, and they made the dancers change. So, by the time I was old enough to go to parties around my neighborhood, when I was 12, it was juke music playing. That was our Chicago thing. Like, that was our music. That’s what the youth had.”
Sanders looks back on those days with great fondness. “This was back when this was the last era when girls and guys would dance together at a party or at a club. It was juke music. Like, I feel like that’s what brought a lot of people together. That’s what kept positivity in the bad, negative streets of Chicago.”
Looking to get more involved with that whole scene, he became a member of the Ghettotekz (now Teklife) crew in 2010. “I literally met them on the south side of Chicago at an event they were DJing at,” he remembers. “They were literally doing those events just to be like, yo, we want to inspire younger people. Yeah, you can do this and still come out. Don’t be scared to come out. You know, still come out and still have fun. We have art here – like, it’s basically an art thing.”
Footwork to the masses
This unit of DJs/producers/tastemakers also included co-founder and footwork pioneer DJ Rashad, who sadly died of a drug overdose in 2014. So, does Taye – who releases music on Hyperdub, the London-based label where Rashad also dropped tunes – feel obligated to continue spreading footwork to the masses? Considering he’s been everywhere from New York to London to Seoul, South Korea, getting nothing but good vibes from audiences (he’s looking forward to getting more when he performs Saturday at Kings in downtown Raleigh), it’s a mission Sanders has no problem accepting.
“That’s my goal – I just want to enlighten people to the music,” he says. “That’s what I want to do. Like, it’s not even really about me. I just really wanna enlighten people to the culture and to the music. So, they can start footworking and start listening to all footwork artists and just see that this is a dope music that really hasn’t gotten paid attention to.”
Who: DJ Taye
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kings, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Info: 919-833-1091 or kingsbarcade.com