Eli Escobar Selects his 10 Most Iconic NYC Dance Trax
Eli Escobar Selects his 10 Most Iconic NYC Dance TraxSeptember 20, 2022
A fixture of NYC’s dance floor culture, the essential DJ/producer Eli Escobar has been serving up hot slices of dance floor gold in the Big Apple for over two decades. A dedicated representative of his city’s diverse and groundbreaking club culture, his humble hip-hop beginnings in the ’90s eventually led him to become one of NYC’s finest dance music mavens. His Tiki Disco parties in Bushwick have become the stuff of legend. He’s worked alongside pop icons such as Britney Spears, M.I.A., and Lana Del Rey, and remixed the likes of Soul Clap, Hercules & Love Affair, AMP Fiddler, and countless others. In addition, he’s released house and disco gold on classic labels like Nurvous Records, Classic Music Company, and Razor-N-Tape, all while beautifully curating his own Night People imprint. Spreading his dance floor gospel far beyond his city’s limits, this house and disco evangelist brings a slice of NYC wherever he hits the decks.
Having just released his new and marvelous album Once I Was Young, Eli Escobar celebrates by serving up a list of what he sees as some of New York City’s most iconic dance floor tunes. We couldn’t think of a better expert on the subject, and the list will surely not disappoint. Enjoy the tracks and check out what he had to say about the heartfelt NYC playlist below!
“Growing up in New York, you hear music everywhere you go. On the streets, subways, ball courts and, of course, blasting out of cars. There are certain records that are distinctly New York. Made by artists from or living in New York, they captivate our imaginations instantly. Sometimes they capture a moment in time and we cling to them and claim them as our own before the rest of the world catches on.”
“When I first started clubbing, there were records that I would hear everywhere in the city — “Hot Music” by SOHO, “Set it Off” by Strafe, “Is It All Over My Face” by Loose Joints (always answered with an enthusiastic “HELL YEAH!”) and “I Got It Made” by Special Ed. These were New York records that really found their life in the clubs. And they live on to this day. I’ve always played lots of different genres and styles of dance music and for this list I tried to select songs that represent this. But they’re all classic New York records to me. And I’ll never stop playing them!” – Eli Escobar
Eli Escobar’s new album Once I Was Young is out now via Night People. Buy it on Beatport.
Odyssey – Native New Yorker [RCA/Legacy]
This is just my theme song. I’ll never get tired of it. And it’s all true! I grew up riding the subways …up in Harlem, down on Broadway. All true! I love the melancholy but joyful feel. I think that’s sort of my area of expertise!
Kenlou – Moonshine [MAW Records]
Masters At Work were the first house music producers I really discovered and got into back in the ‘90s. The catalogue is so vast and deep that it’s almost just too much to comprehend. I picked this one because it has that raw vibe I love and the dope Gil Scott Heron sample and he is another one of my all-time heroes and a New York icon.
Dominatrix – The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight [Streetwise Recordings]
I love this weird record. It’s New York to the bone and one of those records that crossed into every scene… house, electro, and hip hop. I have no idea what she’s talking about but who cares, she sounds so cool!
Zebra Katz – Ima Read [ZFK Records]
It’s hard to believe this record is 10 years old now because it still sounds so ahead of the curve. This song is proof that all you need is a kick drum and some attitude to make a classic dance record.
Visual – The Music Got Me [Prelude Records]
Proto house classic by the late great Boyd Jarvis. I used to play the dub all the time back in the late ‘90s when I first started playing out downtown but now I like to play the vocal. The mix is unreal. Probably one of the very first mixes Tony Humphries did.
House Of House – Rushing To Paradise [Still Going Records]
Super epic Balearic house with beautiful vocals that don’t start til like 8 mins into the song! This came out during a time in New York when we only had a few places to play underground dance music and the scene was way smaller. Everyone loved this record so much. It definitely holds up!
Machine – There But For The Grace Of God Go I [Unidsic Music]
August Darnell is one of my heroes and everything he does feels absolutely New York to me. This is probably his masterpiece. It’s perfection in every way – lyrics and vocal performance, production and the breakdown is a definitive moment in dance music.
Jungle Brothers – I’ll House You [Warlock Records]
The JBs are really important to me. They aren’t celebrated as much as Tribe and De La but in the clubs, they had so many hits. It was them and Deee-Lite who really turned me on to house music. This song is the obvious choice but I would suggest everyone check out their first two albums because they are flawless!
Dinosaur L – Go Bang [Sleeping Bag Records]
This is one of those records that’s so embedded in the fabric of dance music culture sometimes you take it for granted and don’t stop to appreciate how fucking weird and avant-garde of a record it actually is! My personal mix of choice is the Francois K mix. It’s such a trip and the vocals drive people crazy!
LSDXOXO – Sick Bitch [XL Recordings]
I love everything LSDXOXO does! I picked this one because I always play it at Battle Hymn here in New York and people go nuts for it. So I consider it a modern-day classic track for sure.