This Saturday night, you’ll get a chance to shake it like you mean it. There’s much to be said about the music of 1993, but let’s just say it’s a rich-ass year: SWV, Dre and Snoop, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Prince, Jodeci, Janet Jackson, 2 Pac, Gin Blossoms, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, R.E.M., The Pharcyde, Tribe Called Quest, Xscape, Ice Cube, Take That, Toni Tony Tone and many more all had huge hits. In fact, take a look at a list of songs that defined 1993 and you’ll quickly find yourself saying, “Who’s going dancing with me at Johnny Brenda’s?”
DJs Bo Bliz and Edmynd will man the wheels at It’s the Year 1993, but we asked the party’s host, Reef the Lost Cauze, for some thoughts on the big year and the party inspired by it.
PW: How did these year parties start?
The It’s The Year parties started in July 2008 by longtime Philly party promoter Justin Weileski, with Bo and Emynd, as sort of a tribute to nostalgia and the music of our youth. I guess they figured they needed a host to shout drunkenly at folks because they asked me to join on about a year later. I think my first party was in July of 2009. I say, to this day, that this is those guys’ party; I’m just along for the ride.
So 1993 was a most fascinating year in music, especially hip-hop. Which was more influential: Wu-Tang’s Chambers or The Chronic?
For me personally, it’s Wu all day. I’m an east coast kid, and there was nothing more east coast then the Wu, like ever. But if we are talking total impact, there’s no denying The Chronic changed everything: the sound, the landscape, the slang and even the style of clothing. Everyone wanted to be in Cali with Dre and Snoop, and 20 years later, they are headlining Coachella like fuckin’ Prince or something. (Laughs) So it’s obvious everyone still does. They won that battle.
Is this basically just a straight-up dance party? Or will you be spitting anything or using a mic at all?
It is a stone-cold dance party, my man. There are no breaks, it’s music from start to finish. I usually just try and keep the crowd active and excited; I might sing or rap along to a few lines here or there, or even encourage the audience to sing along with us. We are having so much fun up there, and the crowd can tell it’s sincere, and that energy reaches out to everyone there. Security, bartenders, sound guys—everyone jams out in there.
The Bodyguard soundtrack was the number-one selling album of the year? Then Kenny G.?! What in the hell?
(Laughs) Well, hey man, knowing Bo and Emynd, you will definitely hear some Whitney. We did ‘93 already, and that night ended with a packed, sloshed-up dance floor singing loudly to “I Will Always Love You.” It was the last song they played. And it was epic.
Do you have a favorite artist/track/album/video/moment that comes to mind? How would you characterize the year or, more generally, the early ’90s and what was going on in music?
I mean, for anyone in their early 30s (I just turned 31), the early ’90s were our teenage years. So that point in our life has a very important soundtrack playing behind each moment: first kisses, first fights, first dances, first bong hits. These songs were all a part of that. For me, to try and give credit to just one song or artist would be a disservice to all the music that shaped me, but I will say it was a beautiful time. Pop was as big as pop could get, hip-hop was a teenager as well and spoke directly to me. Hair metal was dead and rock felt fresh. It was just a time when everything was fresh and new, and we can’t get that back. Except for a moment this Saturday.
Sat., March 30. 9pm. $7. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
PW's Music Issue 2014