If there’s one remix that everybody and their grandmother has heard before, it’s legendary DJ Todd Terry’s redo of the 1994 smash single, “Missing,” by Everything But The Girl. Not only did this rewire become the stuff that ’90s study hall crush/stalker dreams were made of, but it also went on to become the theme song for a little SNL sketch called ‘Mango,’ featuring former comedy player Chris Kattan as a saucy stripper who had diva fits, but yet, somehow managed to become the twisted apple in everyone’s eye. (My personal favorite was the J.Lo/Mango episode. Classic.) However, it wasn’t just “Missing” that put Mr. Terry’s remix on everyone’s Walkman, the iconic DJ has no doubt paved the way for pretty much every DJ who’s out there spinnin’ today. So, on that pumping bassline, let’s drive past the music house again and dive into today’s “Rewerk Wednesday,” featuring the insatiable music catalog of Mr. Todd Terry.
Todd Terry defined New York house during the ’80s by blending the sounds of classic disco, along with uprising Chicago house riffs, with just a dash of hip-hop attitude and smart sampling. With two of the most respected crossover rewires of the house era (“Missing” and also, “I’ll House You” by the Jungle Brothers, another classic), a new nickname for the DJ surfaced, as he would go on to be called “Todd the God”….or sometimes just….”God.”
Born in Brooklyn, Terry began DJing in the early ’80s while still a teenager, spinning hip-hop at school events and also on the street alongside his team, who were dubbed the Scooby Doo Crew. He also got lost in Italian disco, and when the house sound of Chicago dropped in the mid-’80s, Terry then made made his official switch to crafting house music. Shortly after, he would join fellow New York DJs and remixers, Little Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, and the three of them went on to be known as Masters at Work, whose ’87 single, “Alright Alright,” would go on to become a staple on New York’s early house scene. Terry’s fusions of hip-hop and house would create a huge trend in popular music, as late ’80s/early ’90s dance acts Snap!, Captain Hollywood Project, Culture Beat and more famously, C+C Music Factory, would use this trend in their own smash hits. In fact, the British house explosion of the early ’90s landed Terry several overseas gigs, including a very high-profile residency at infamous London nightclub, Ministry of Sound.
While trailblazing house music and destroying sound systems were definitely Mr. Terry’s thing, he also enjoyed working under many aliases. Besides ‘Masters at Work,’ he also used the monikers, Hardhouse, Swan Lake, Orange Lemon, Royal House and Black Riot. But, perhaps his most famous alias was when he used his own name in The Todd Terry Project, creating some truly insane club records. His most known smashes under that particular alias include “Bango (To The Batmobile)” and “Weekend,” and while those two tracks alone not only set fire to the floor, they are also club records that I’m sure every DJ out there has learned something from at some point in their career.
You know, this next part of “Rewerk” gets a bit tough for me, because I always feel the pressure to pick out the records that best represent the DJ. Being that I began DJing in the late ’90s, I was exposed to many of Terry’s masterpieces, so it’s hard for me to pick out just a few that I love. Of course, I live for any of the tracks listed above, and his slick remix of “Bitch,” by forgotten about diva Meredith Brooks, is simply divine. He’s also got some killer cuts with house divas Martha Wash, Jocelyn Brown and Shannon, which are all fine pieces of music art. I’ve posted a beat buffet of Todd Terry grooves below, but for more on this extraordinary house remix pioneer, you should go right here. All you have to do is…dive in.
Everything But The Girl/”Missing”
“Something Goin On” (ft. Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown)
Hercules & Love Affair/”Do You Feel The Same?”
“Keep On Jumpin” (ft. Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown)