Chicago DJ and producer Frankie Knuckles passed away in 2014, but his legacy continues on turntables and in clubs every time someone puts a needle to his sound. Today (Feb. 14), his longtime friend and writing and production partner Eric Kupper is announcing a new collection of originals and releases of his and Knuckles’ work as the duo Directors Cut. It’s due out in Spring, and the first single is a rework of Knuckles’ 1987 fan favorite “Baby Wants to Ride,” premiering exclusively on Billboard.
The updated version features rerecorded melodies for a what Kupper calls a “more modern sonic approach,” as well as updated lyrics and vocal by original singer Jamie Principle. The into and outro has been extended, and really, it plays like a groovy, funkalicious, haunting bit of tech-house that could have been released today for the first time. An exclusive vinyl release featuring an edit from Jimmy Edgar will also be available.
Half the profits from this rework release will go to The Frankie Knuckles Foundation to help with it keep music in schools, house homeless LGBTQ youth, research AIDS, research and prevent diabetes research and more. The single comes out Friday, Feb. 15, and the full album is out this spring.
Knuckles is remembered as more than just an icon of old-school electronic music; he’s the godfather of house, the man who created and carried a sound that defined a generation of young men’s lives who needed any place to call their own, a sound that continued to evolve and transform and touch souls around the world, across eras, to become one of the foundiational cornerstones of electronic music.
Listen to the modern rework of “Baby Wants to Ride” a day before its wide release below, exclusively on Billboard Dance.