How Black Culture Influenced DJ Music

How Black Culture Influenced DJing

How Black Culture Influenced DJ Music

In light of the tragic events on the 25th May and the worldwide movement since, Crossfader is committed to speaking out and helping raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. In all walks of life, we are influenced by black culture. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of music.

Over 90% of our population listens to music for over 30 hours a week on average. It’s by far the most consumed art form in the modern world. Needing no translation, music has the ability to bring people of all walks of life together.

Smashing through man-made divisions such as nationality, language and religion. Music has the unique ability to comfort, give strength, find pride and motivate all those who listen. Indeed a universal language that is understood and enjoyed by all walks of life.

So what has been the most significant influence over music in the 20th century? Black culture. 

Black Culture and the world of DJing

The Rise and Fall of Disco

Disco music was born in the underground clubs of New York. Attended by LGBTQ, African American, and Latino communities, these clubs offered a safe place to escape the social issues and public scrutiny they faced. Disco music rapidly became more popular, growing from these underground clubs and into the mainstream.

Disco would rapidly return to the underground, however. In 1979 Chicago Rock n Roll DJ Steve Dahl organised the “Disco Demolition”. Hosted between two games of Baseball at the White Sox’s home ground of Comiskey Park, Dahl drove onto the pitch in full military clothing and exploded a dumpster filled with disco records brought to the event by the crowd.

Sadly this wasn’t just an attack on the genre with many of the crowd bringing soul, funk and RnB records. Music created by black culture, gay communities was then publicly destroyed. A riot on the pitch with 50,000 in attendance then rapidly consumed the event, cancelling the second game. The aftermath led to a nationwide abandonment of the disco culture, sadly forcing it back into the underground.

Introducing House Music

House music started in the underground clubs of Chicago in the late seventies born from the ashes of disco music. Taking the advancements in musical technology at the time and applying synthesisers, drum machines and sequencers to samples of old Disco tracks. Underground DJ’s in Chicago started a new movement of their own. 

Venues such as The Warehouse in Chicago’s Southside helped showcase the talents of these local DJ’s. The term “house music” actually came from record stores shortening the phrase “As played at The Warehouse Club”. 

It didn’t take long for record labels to take notice with Chicago’s Trax Records releasing classics such as “Move Your Body” by Marshall Jefferson and “Your Love” by Frankie Knuckles to name a few. 

The Age of the Sample

The art of sampling older music and recreating new versions or edits may have started in Chicago with the house movement, but it’s still an art form used today. With such strong connections to the music we all listen today, it’s only natural that modern hits regularly sample black culture.

To celebrate the massive influence black culture has had on the music we play as DJ’s, we have created a mix showcasing the samples used in some of the biggest dance tracks.

Samples used in this mix:

Throughout this mix you will hear the original track that the new track has sampled. We have listed the tracks below and included links to Who Sampled to help pin point the sample. Some samples are more obvious than others, thankfully there is a great tool to check samples used in almost any track. Who Sampled has a library of over 681,000 songs and 222,000 artists and helps uncover the links between tracks. Give it a go yourself and discover who influenced the music you play!

Patrick Topping Be Sharp Say Nowt samples LaShaun Pace I know I’ve Been Changed

Black Culture Samples

Apres Chicago samples Frankie Nuckles Your Love

Fisher You Little Beauty samples Loleatta Holloway Love Sensation

Chris Lake I Remember samples Ralphi Rosario You Used To Hold Me

Frankie Rizardo Same Man samples B Beat Girls For The Same Man

Black Culture Samples

Pete Heller Big Love samples Stargald Wear It Out

Black Culture DJ Samples

Solardo x Marshal Jefferson Move Your Body samples Marshal Jefferson Move Your Body

And the samples we sadly couldn’t include…

Whilst creating this mix, we came across some amazing samples that sadly due to copyright we weren’t able to use in the performance. These fantastic tracks couldn’t go un-noticed however, with their samples taking direct influence from black culture.

Roberto Surace Joys samples The S.O.S Band The Finest

Daft Punk Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger samples Edwin Birdsong Cola Bottle Baby

Stardust Music Sounds Better With You samples Chaka Khan Fate

Avicii Levels samples Etta James Something’s Got a Hold On Me 

Daft Punk Aerodynamic samples Sister Sledge Il Macquillage Lady

David Morales Needing U samples Chi-Lites My First Mistake

Armand Van Helden You Don’t Know Me samples Carrie Lucas Dance With You



Join The Discussion

  1. janisuchanan1123

    Oh this sounds like a good piece, I’m looking forward to the next one. You can try Among Us, an entertaining, fun and simple action game that is easy to play here:


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Recent DJ Content

Get Involved

DJ Education & Community

Online DJ Courses

Learn how to DJ with your equipment by following our software and hardware specific courses! From Rekordbox to Traktor, Serato DJ to Denon DJ & more!

The DJ Hub

The DJ Hub features advanced techniques, career advice, DJ challenges & an inclusive community. Learn anywhere, any time.