Summer is officially over, and as the days get longer, it’s only natural that we take stock of the season’s biggest moments in music.
There are a lot of themes and events that nabbed summer’s attention—from major box office releases to a string of live festivals and fashion shows. But in music, nothing has dominated conversation as much as house and dance music’s triumphant rise to mainstream popularity.
In June, Drake entered the world of dance with his seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind. The project, which borrowed sounds from Baltimore, Detroit, and Chicago house music, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. A few weeks later, Beyoncé entered the conversation with her highly-anticipated album, Renaissance. The album served as a sort of history lesson in dance and house culture, utilizing classic samples like Robin S.’s “Show Me Love” and Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” Beyoncé’s record also debuted atop the Billboard 200. Beyoncé and Drake are not the only contemporary artists to dip their toes in the genre. Kanye West, Azealia Banks, Teyana Taylor, and a handful of others have also contributed tunes to the space in the last decade. But the success of Beyoncé and Drake’s respective records makes a case for why dance is the official MVP of summer 2022.
Before delving into dance music’s current success, it’s worth noting that it’s a far from new endeavor. Dance music has been around for over five decades, first gaining traction in the 1970s and early ’80s in Chicago’s underground club scene with artists like Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy. One of the main influences of house music was disco, but DJs began adding their own spin to the sound by altering the beat to have more electronic and mechanical elements. By the 1980s, DJs began playing a range of house styles at parties, including subgenres such as deep house, acid house, and UK garage.
Hip-hop also started to embrace house music when MCs and beatmakers joined forces to create energized songs with funk samples and gritty vocals in the late ’80s. Since then, modern house music has become more regional with subgenres like Jersey club, Baltimore club, and Philly club music taking center stage.
House music, though it never completely fell off, lost much of its popularity after its peak in the 1990s, as the industry moved towards other genres and sounds. Pop and rock music creeped into dominance during the Y2K era and remained for many years, until 2017, when hip-hop and R&B surpassed rock as the most dominant genre in music and has occupied the space for the last four years. Hip-hop, of course, isn’t going anywhere, but there has been a shift in some consumers’ musical interests.
A need for vibrant and uptempo music comes in large part as a result of a global pandemic that kept most of us indoors for months at a time. Venus X, DJ and host of GHE20GOTH1K (pronounced “ghetto gothic”)—an underground…