Tall, short, skinny, big, black, brown, white, gay, straight, transgender, old, and young is what house is about. In a follow up to my introductory article, Deep Sugar: A Main Ingredient, I had the pleasure last night of attending the Paradox in Baltimore for the first time. I grew up in Baltimore County, Owings Mills/Pikesville to be exact, but I never really spent much time going out to clubs and I wasn’t old enough to get in the Dox. My brother on the other hand, had been going out to the Dox since he was 16 and brought forth such energy.
Watching him dance is an amazing experience. When he hears a house song that touches his spirit, he goes into his own zone and people form a circle around him. I love it! He grew up dancing in the clubs and took everything he learned and applied it to his professional career as a choreographer. When he goes dancing, he isn’t trying to battle people and people aren’t battling him. It’s all about the music and last night was all about the House that built jack. For those of you not accustomed to the “Dictionary of House”, jack is that feeling you get when the music is good and it moves your body. So you “jack your body”. It’s this uncontrollable and undeniable feeling that overwhelms your body and sends you into ecstasy.
Last night was an amazing night filled with non stop “jack your body”. It took us an hour drive to get to Baltimore, but we left around 10:30pm and got there about 11:50pm. Normally we don’t go out dancing so early, but we needed to get that $10 deal before midnight instead of paying $15 after midnight. Money is tight nowadays, but the house makes you forget all the bills. It wasn’t crowded at all when we walked in the Dox, yet we didn’t care. Jamile,Angie,Sam( my white brother), and I immediately took our spot in front of the dj booth and started dancing. It was impossible to ignore the deep sugar sounds of the pure house vibrating throughout the room. As it got a little more crowded (maybe ten people or so) Lisa Moody and Ultra Nate gave me a shout out. “Jasmine McGee is in the House!” It felt so cool, even though it wasn’t crowded, but to hear my name shouted out, I felt so special!
So of course we walked up to the deejay booth and met Ultra Nate and Lisa Moody. It was such an amazing experience. While most people want to meet Halle Berry, Tyra, Oprah, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Kanye, etc, I’ve always wanted to meet an influential person in the house scene. So meeting the legendary international dance sensation Ultra Nate and dj extraordinaire Lisa Moody was an experience of a lifetime to me. I have a lot of people on my house list to meet, including Crystal Waters, Dennis Ferrer, Osunlade, Kerri Chandler, Frankie Knuckles, and Barbara Tucker, but last night was definitely one of the best nights I’ve had dancing so far.
I honestly can’t tell you much about everything that happened last night, because I was so lost in the music and dancing all night. I remember this gay guy grabbed a trash can and was humping the life out of it, but it was okay because sometimes house makes you do off the wall things. It’s all about the music, it didn’t matter. I remember seeing some awesome vogueing and dancing from a cool guy named Jonathan B Knox. I’m not sure exactly what he does, maybe he’s a promoter of DeepSugar or something of that sort, but I do know he is friends with Ultra Nate and Lisa Moody, and he has such a vibrant spirit about him. House music is a music of love. I felt so much love last night dancing with my friends and family and hearing Lisa and Ultra Nate tell me how beautiful it was that someone as young as myself loves house and knows the history…man that touched my heart.
While everyone in middle school, hs, and college were busy knowing all the latest hip-hop and r&b songs, I was busy becoming a house dictionary. I would find songs, write them down, memorize the artists, and store them away in my brain. But there is so much house out there I don’t know about yet I’m progressively learning every day. I owe a lot of my passion for house to my brother Jamile. If it wasn’t for him giving this green Cd he burned with tracks from Cajmere on it, a cd which I still own and its about 6 years old, then I would have never been exposed to the classics of house.
The reason I love house so much is because it was always my own world I could escape into. One guys treat me like crap, when school stresses me out, when females end our friendships over petty drama, and when I’m left standing alone… I know that I’ve got the Lord by my side and house. In the words of house legend Carl Cox, “House is a Feeling. If you feel nothing, it isn’t house.” Deep Sugar and the resident djs Ultra Nate, Jerome Hicks, Lisa Moody, Thommy Davis, and Dj Soulgiver bring that statement to life. The residents at Deep Sugar know how to play a track and mix it into another track that moves parts of your body you never thought of moving. House will have you wailing your hands in the air and screaming a deep “yes”. What can I say? That is what house music is all about! So don’t be afraid to let the music entice you and make you “jack your body”.
Deep Sugar is becoming one of my favorite events in the Baltimore Night Club scene. It’s my monthly dose of house. If they had Deep Sugar more than once a month, I’d probably die from all the dancing. Deep Sugar…it’s that serious!
Shout out to Lisa Moody, Ultra Nate, Thommy Davis, Jerome Hicks, and Jonathan B Knox. You guys are truly what Deep Sugar is about and I hope to continue being that young house junkie that passes this knowledge and love onto those within my generation one by one.
Have a great week ahead everyone and remember “house is a feeling. if you feel nothing, it isn’t house.”
Jack Your Body by Steve “Silk” Hurley
House.Living quarters, shelter, a refuge, a place for entertainment, and the international music genre that has kissed thousands of souls. House has the power to unite people regardless of social standing, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and physical attributes. House isn’t a shallow fashion show or an elite black tie party. House isn’t sexist, homophobic, racist, or ageist. House has the power to bring tears to your eyes and experience sacred emotions that millions experience across the world in their spiritual devotion.
The picture above is the essence of house music. Taken by local DC/Baltimore photographer Josh Sisk, this photograph is a glimpse into the world of house music and why it exists. House music doesn’t discriminate against age, race, profession, or even level of dance skills. When you attend a house music event, your taken into a trance and the only escape is when the last pulsating beat travels out of your system and the music comes to a halt. It’s impossible to go to a house event and chill at the bar looking like an airbrushed photograph. Ladies put on your best flats(sneakers for those who really like to work off the pounds), put your hair back in a sweat appropriate hairstyle, cope a pair of leggings, a sexy top, and prepare to dance the night away while dropping a good 5lbs. Oh and don’t think I forgot the fellas, be sure to opt for loose jeans instead of super skinny, bring an extra shirt (you’re going to be drenched with sweat), and don’t stress yourself over by trying to prepare a line for the hot girl/hot guy on the dance floor…you won’t need any lines.
Dancing at a house event and being in a crowd with your fellow brothers and sisters in the name of house is an experience that throws out the typical club politics. Those who have a pure heart for house music don’t go out dancing to score numbers, but to let their soul escape the bills, the drama, and the pile of paperwork they left at work. If they happen to dance with someone it’s for the love of house and not to make another drunken one night stand.You can’t enjoy house music if your really wasted because that isn’t what house music is about, so save that for techno.
House events aren’t about sex on the dance floor, but more of a spiritual release amongst strangers bonding throughout the night and their souls connect through the soulful vocals and rhythms of house. Freedom of expression should be a tagline for every mainstream and underground house event that takes place worldwide, because that is what house music is all about.
This freedom of expression is what makes Deep Sugar a main ingredient for a pure house. I had the pleasure of experiencing ultimate freedom of expression when I attended my first Deep Sugar event last month. My brother had been telling me about Deep Sugar at the Paradox for the past few years, yet I was never old enough to attend and when I was finally 18 I was stuck in Denver, Colorado. But since relocating back to Maryland this spring and my brother and his wife leaving LA to settle down and pursue their passion of owning a dance studio in our hometown of the DMV, Deep Sugar was no longer a foreign language to me.
I hadn’t been to a club since I was 16 years old (I’m 19 turning 20 this month) and the last time I went to a club it was Baja in downtown Baltimore. That club has of course been shut down and thank God! It was so cramped and I wasn’t feeling a lot of the music they played…yet I ended up dancing on top of this counter and getting my picture taken while this guy bent me over and dry humped me like the future of mankind depend on him. Sadly, I still have that terrible picture and it remains something I’ve only shown to my immediate family and one ex. It stays in the vault as my first time going to a club and being thrown around like a piece of meat, grinding from one guy to another. I didn’t really like that experience and aside from the Baltimore club music, which is something I love, I didn’t enjoy the music played and the entire atmosphere was a turn off.
I was turned off from the entire club scene and decided I wasn’t going to go to a nightclub again until I was 21. Out in Denver a lot of the clubs were strictly 21 and up, and the clubs that were 18 and up weren’t all that great from what I heard, so I never bothered wasting my time. I knew once I turned 21 I could go to clubs that played pure and soulful house music. I wanted to go to clubs that played the type of music that was true house music and evoked a spiritual experience. But it seemed hard to find those who appreciated good house music and it was difficult finding venues that played house music and not just dance.
However, moving back to the DMV and having a brother who loves house dancing, listens to house religiously, and a sister-in-law who loves house made for a beautiful equation. Last month I was able to finally go out and experience a nightclub event that was devoted to nothing but house. Deep Sugar DC was the answer to my dilemma. All the years of my brother telling me about Deep Sugar at the Paradox in Baltimore and the avant-garde atmosphere had finally become a memory and not just a fantasy.
It would take hours for me to talk about every aspect of that night, including the week I spent anxious and wishing I had a time machine to make Fridays come sooner. Deep Sugar was the spiritual release I need following all the drama I had that week with the guy I was dating who had a girlfriend the entire time and lied about his life (smh, but eh whatever I moved on). Deep Sugar was not only an ingredient for the recipe of house, but an ingredient needed to complete the soul and erase the drama.
The minute we got our advance tickets from the call box and they marked the big x’s on my hand to symbolize I wasn’t drinking age, we walked into U Street Music Hall and the music raptured us. My brother, Angie, and myself all looked at each other with this grin we all get when deep and soulful house music kisses our soul. We walked through the crowd to meet up with his friends who were anxious to dance the night away. As we travelled through the united nations of house it was amazing to see people of all ages, races, sizes, genders, and even flaming gay men in their own world dancing. So much happened that night, but I do remember I never stopped dancing once. I loved the “no pressure” atmosphere and how random strangers danced with each other and cheered on the best and even the not so great dancers. Nothing mattered! Two step, breaking, popping, house dancing, African, vogueing (this awesome gay guy with big blue glasses was vogueing in our circle), and all styles of dance were accepted.
I even let this cute drunk guy do this rump shaking dance with me and he leaned over in my ear and said “Your Sexy.” I began laughing and he said “You know I’m sober…right?” He was nursing his drink and was in his own world, so I said “Of course your sober…yea right! But your sexy, so do your thing.” He tapped me on the shoulder and said “I’m sober….wait that’s a damn lie!” Then he smiled and walked off, later returning with his friends and they danced with us.
Deep Sugar DC that night was in celebration of Ultra Nate’s Birthday and she sang live while her friend deejay Lisa Moody tore it up on the turn tables. Ultra Nate has made it her mission, along with Lisa Moody and other renown Baltimore house deejays/producers, to bring to light the house scene in the DMV. We all know about Miami’s house scene, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Detroit, and London, but between Baltimore and DC there is a house scene that is the new school Paradise Garage. It may not share the same venue name, but it sure does start with a P!
Deep Sugar is usually held at Baltimore’s Paradox Garage the 2nd Saturday of every month. I had the opportunity to attend Deep Sugar DC last month in celebration of Ultra Nate’s Birthday, but I’m anxious to attend Deep Sugar@the Paradox. My brother and his friends told me that the Deep Sugar the Paradox doesn’t end at 3am like it did last time, but it goes until 6am in the morning. 1am is when in the crowd starts rolling in and by 3am they are warmed up and ready for another 3 hours of pure house music spun by resident deejays Lisa Moody, Ultra Nate, and the occasional special guest. Past guest have included Jody Watley, Tony Humphries, Terry Hunter, Martha Wash, CeCe Peniston, Louie Vega, Jocelyn Brown, Mr. V, Barbara Tucker, Kathy Sledge, Crystal Waters, and Quentin Harris, as well not to mention numerous other superstar icons in the house music industry.
If you’re looking for soulful house music with resonating chords and a taste of disco mixed with old school funk, then add Deep Sugar Party to your ingredient list for a true house music delight. Don’t worry about waking up for church on Sunday morning, because at Deep Sugar your guaranteed to have a spiritual revival that will be with you all night and for the weeks ahead. I still get goose bumps when I play back all the soulful music that kissed my soul that evening. Deep Sugar is the only place where I’ve felt like crying and praising the Lord while getting down to the rippling beats of house. Deep Sugar…it’s that powerful.
The next DEEPSUGAR is April 9.2011 at Paradox:1310 Russell Street, Baltimore MD 21201. DOORS OPEN AT 11pm and CLOSE AT 6AM. GET READY TO SWEAT!!
Pictures by Josh Sisk.
Peace House Lovers.