Dope Jams is a bullshit-free record store beloved just as much for their unquestioningly good taste as for the salty-as-hell descriptions of their wares. Once based in Brooklyn and now relocated to Oak Hill, the store is run by DJ duo Slow to Speak (Francis Englehardt and Paul Nickerson), who also penned this must-read list for THUMP of the top gospel house love songs of all time.
This Saturday, the notorious grumblers will celebrate the store's nine years of existence the best way they know how: a big summer BBQ with lots of ice cream in Hudson Valley. Paul and Francis also sourced the best tracks to play while throwing some ribs on the grill—this is basically the most head-approved Summer Party House playlist you'll ever find. Also, if you're missing the party this weekend, no sweat; keep on the lookout for a special boat party the crew is throwing in August.
Kathy Brown - "Happy People" (Knee Deep To L.B. Dub)
You know someone is a dope DJ when they are the personification of the music they are playing. If there is anyone who is the physical embodiment of both BBQ and Summer Party House it is Noel Liddy AKA DJ Sty AKA Old Yist. The first time I met him was at dinner at the famous NYC chain Dallas BBQ. At a table of 15 people he stole the show—he had us all on the floor laughing, then proceeded to devour everyones leftovers (which is no easy feat if you have ever seen the portions there). It was so impressive that two months later we invited him up to Boston to DJ at our weekly party LIFE. He didn't disappoint, playing everything from Wham to Aril Brikha to De La Soul, but buried deep in his set was this unknown Kathy Brown BBQ burner! I still have never heard anyone else play it but if you drop it right as Sty surely did then, you are sure to get the party broiling!
Johnny Corporate - 'Sunday Shoutin'
Aside from Mateo & Matos, 95 North were the most prolific producers of the mid-90s. They were like Walmart, focusing on quantity over quality. However, ever once in a while they would get it right. This complete shitshow of a track is a good example. It makes absolutely no sense, but there is no denying its deadly BBQ potential! Its like when you get ribs marinated in that sauce that's just too sweet but you can't stop gnawing on them. That heavy-handed dose of caramelized wailing horns just keeps you coming back for more! Another DJ Sty classic!
Sylk 130 - "Happiness" (Soul Dhamma Remix)
Just like your grandmother's secret sauce, the ingredients on paper don't quite add up but its oddities really come together to make a serious BBQ banger. Slather this King Britt classic on heartily and watch the ladies hit the flash point!
Key To Life - "Find Our Way" (Club Path Remix)
Summer slammer remixed by Mousse T. & Boris Dlugosch, the master chefs behind the other BBQ banger "Keep Pushin." I first heard this on a DJ Bruno mixtape. It was both a blessing and a curse—he worked it so perfectly rockin' back and forth between the vocal and dub that I knew I could never make it sound that dope when I played it so didn't even try. You know when you hit that roadside BBQ joint and have that perfect brisket that you wouldn't even attempt to prepare at home? That's how I felt. Like a fine barrel-aged stout BBQ sauce this 19-year-old track just gets better with time.
De La Soul - "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)" [Sax Mix]
In the mid-90's CJ Mackintosh was as hot as the Weber Genesis E-330 Grill. If he was on an episode of BBQ Pit Wars his remixes for everyone from Jodeci to Janet Jackson to A Tribe Called Quest and his ability to seamlessly bounce between house and hip-hop would have surely had him squaring off against Kenny Dope. This long-lost remix of De La Soul's summer anthem "Ring Ring Ring" is the perfect way to get your BBQ started: a dash of house, a pinch of hip-hop and a heavy dose of 80's R&B.
Pirates of the Caribbean Vol. III - "Rumba"
What would a BBQ be without a little Latin house? You may not hear this at any of the Bunker parties this summer, but if you go to a party where people actually dance in New York, you should hear some fucking Latin house. If not I would recommend storming the booth with a Cuba Libre in hand. A little fun is the least you deserve for surviving a summer in that shit hole!
Jomanda - "Got A Love For You" (Hurley's House Mix)
There was this beautiful moment where house music and freestyle came together to create some of the best summer anthems that will ever exist. This is one of those moments. If you can't see yourself dancing to this underneath the sun while the smell of charcoal and beer blows across your face I don't know what to tell you. There is a good chance your senses are actually dead at this point and you should see a doctor. At the very least I would recommend a strict regime of Tecate, hot dogs on the grill (not from the specialty shop in Williamsburg) and at least one trip to Coney Island this summer.
Nitro Deluxe - "This Brutal House"
If this record isn't a BBQ jam, I don't know what is. It's a classic New York summer record! You could easily throw Chris Cuevas' "Hip Hop" (Masters At Work Dub) in the same category. Both are essential BBQ records.
Basement Jaxx - "Eu Nao"
If you were lucky enough to be buying records when Basement Jaxx first started releasing stuff on Atlantic Jaxx you had no idea what was coming. I remember when "Samba Magic" hit the shops in Boston for the first time. I was lucky enough to be DJing at The Loft then. The "old school heads" back then didn't know what to make of it. I got shit for buying that record until I played it at the club that weekend and everyone lost their shit, especially me.
Alright enough of that memory lane bullshit. These guy's were like animals that broke free from the zoo. They just went fucking off on all those early releases. For the "deep heads" you had the stuff with Corrina Joseph's "Live Your Life With Me" and "I'm Thru With You" For the party kids you had "Samba Magic" and "Fly Life". These records have withstood the test of time better than most. I know they are riding the gravy train now and god knows I haven't bought anything new by them in years, but who cares. They made some of the best and most original house records ever.
Manix - "Reach Out 'Dub"
Be forewarned. You have to have a real sound system to play this record. You need a sound system like this one, other wise it just won't translate and just sound boring. So if you have the system—and the balls—good luck!