RIP Frankie Knuckles


Aristotle, Newton, Franklin, Pastevr, Lavoisier, Faraday, Archimedes, da Vinci, Darwin, and Copernicvs. These are the names that sit atop the famous MIT columns down the street from our DJ and music production school. Alex and I have always dreamed of who would sit atop the marble columns of a DJ school. And one of those names died today.

His name is Frankie Knuckles and he created a music called house music.

In Chicago there was a club that Frankie Knuckles made home, it was called The Warehouse. And it was there that “house” music, essentially, was created. Frankie, by mixing soul music with a strong backbeat in consecutive order and adding his own thumping rhythm, made a music later to be called “house.” It is powerful. It is part of the reason we have four M’s in our name. /\/\ = four beats, /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ = 16 beats = 4/4 time. The beat of the heart. The beat of humanity. 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, on and on and on

and on and on and on. We live, literally, on the beat of the heart. Without the beat, the heartbeat, we die. And very few people knew this more than Frankie.

We humbly submit ourselves in his footsteps.

May his beat thump into and beyond the future. Wherever you are, take the time to blast some house music. Or even, just play house music when you are cleaning your, um, house, or certainly working. House music propels us. The beat inspires us to produce, innovate, maintain and, dare I say it, evolve. All the while keeping the utmost principles in mind: community, culture and, sure, love.

Here’s a low-res recording of one of his sets from 1977 courtesy of Boston DJ legend Liz Ladoux. Listen in as house music is born:

And maybe a final nod from pop quartet Animal Collective, who created their own tribute in 2009 with “My Girls”:

Bye Frankie and thanks for what you gave to the world. It will never be the same. You started a cultural revolution.


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