Six months ago, I was talking to DJ Skip about S&S Records’ forthcoming Chicago LP/DVD project, and he dropped a name that blew me away.
“You said Mike Dunn? He’s coming back?”
“Yeah,” I remember him saying. “We’re bringing him back into the House Music fold.”
Mike Dunn was the man, the biggest name among many big names holding down the Warehouse on Randolph in the 1990s, and creator of dancefloor slayers like “God Made Me Phunky,” “Pressure Cooker” and the (still never released as a single) “Freaky Muthafucka”.
Skip might have been speaking for everyone, but nobody can force Mike Dunn to change his mind before its time. The time is now. After a few years producing hip-hop, he’s re-established his presence on the House side with a tidal wave of activity that’s about to become a monsoon.
“When I got out of it, House was going in a whole different direction,” he explained. “It wasn’t about Chicago anymore. It was a big European wave. Nobody was trying to hear the true essence. Being in it and putting out my first record in 1987, it was just time for me to do something else. And people don’t know that I was always doing rap, spinning rap. I’ve always been split. The only difference is that I completely stopped doing House.
“Coming back, though, I liked what I heard. I enjoy Quentin Harris, DJ Spinna. I just felt like House had lost its soul – just clickety-clank. That’s when I stepped away.”
What’s it been like being back? “I’ll tell you, it’s like seeing your high school girlfriend and saying, ‘Where have you been? I never want to leave again! Let’s get married!’ That’s how I feel about House Music. This is in my blood.”
Among the releases coming are reissues and remixes of “Pressure Cooker” and “Freaky Muthafucka” in France, and of “God Made Me Phunky” with mixes by Kenny Dope, Karizma and Harry Choo Choo.
But the most anticipated release is a new track called “It’s House Music,” with spoken-word vocals in Mike’s oft-imitated, never-duplicated style. “It’s House Music” will appear on a forthcoming EP on Defected. “That will be released right before the Winter Music Conference,” he says. “Hopefully it’ll be one of the biggest songs of the conference.
“I’ve got a three EP deal with Defected. I have a track for them called ‘Get Your House On, Children.’ It’s just a beatin’ track with me sounding like James Brown saying, ‘Get Up!’ There’s a sax and it’s just a jack track.
“I just want to bring back good, funky music,” he told me. “I want my records playing at peak hour. I want people screamin’ and hollerin’. I want to bring back some energy and creativeness that Chicago people can look up to.”