Features I by I 23.03.17

10 of Chicago house veteran Ron Trent’s most underrated deep cuts

Chicago veteran Ron Trent has been a crucial part of the US house scene since the early 1990s, and his Prescription label has been at the center of his sound. To celebrate Rush Hour’s essential Prescription retrospective, Dope Jams’ Paul Nickerson has picked 10 Ron Trent classics that didn’t make it to the 6LP set.

Since releasing the seminal The Afterlife EP in 1990 on Chicago’s Warehouse Records imprint, Ron Trent has been a mainstay on the house scene, racking up classic track after classic track.

Trent’s greatest legacy is running the Prescription imprint with his frequent collaborator Anthony Pearson, aka Chez Damier, and to celebrate the house outpost, Rush Hour put together a bumper 6LP compilation, Prescription: Word, Sound & Power, which was released in January.

Ron Trent

To celebrate Trent’s legacy, Paul Nickerson of Catskills-based dance record store Dope Jams has assembled 10 of Ron Trent’s finest productions that didn’t make it to the box set. And if you’re still desperate for more, Nickerson put together a mix of Prescription bangers back in 2004 that can be streamed below.

Dope Jams’ excellent 3LP compilation Dope Jams NYC Volume 1: 2005-2012 is out now.

Inner City
‘Do Me Right’ (Prescription Instrumental)
(1996, 6X6)

‘Do Me Right’ is from the tail end of Ron and Chez’s partnership and you can really hear the direction Ron will go in with his future productions. Both the instrumental mix and vocal of this are amazing – you really need two copies to go back and forth!

Criminally, I think its about three bucks on Discogs; it’s definitely one of the dopest records the two producers made together.

(1997, Clairaudience)

‘NCAMEU’ marked the beginning of Ron Trent and Anthony Nicholson’s work together. It was released when Francois Kevorkian’s legendary Body & Soul party was at its absolute peak and is the ultimate love song.

Somehow, this track captures the entire process of falling in love; the bass line that comes in halfway through signals that point when you are completely enraptured by someone. I will never forget that bass line rumbling through the sound system at Vinyl and sending me into another stratosphere! Features a young Peven Everett on trumpet.

African Blues
‘Word Sound Power (Dub)’
(1998, Clairaudience)

This was the second release on Clairaudience, released about a month after ‘NCAMEU’. Next to A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory this is the baddest sophomore release out there, a hypnotic groove guaranteed to get any party started.

I remember hearing ‘Word Sound Power’ and thinking, “Holy shit, this motherfucker is doing it again! He is gonna create another label as dope as Prescription!” That ultimately didn’t happen for whatever reason – Clairaudience mainly went on to release Anthony Nicholson’s solo projects.

‘Odu Jazz’
(1999, Distance)

From the Color In Rhythm Stimulate Mind Freedom album, this hidden cut is classic Ron Trent: moody and deep. The rest of the album feels thrown out there but this track is moving and interesting. It’s not Trent’s greatest record ever, but an ideal beginning of the night jam.

Carl Hancock Rux
(2001, Giant Step)

For a while in the early 2000s Ron Trent was the in-house producer for Giant Step, remixing everything they put out and DJing at their weekly party. This is that era’s gem, and Carl’s voice and Ron’s music are a match made in fucking heaven. It still sounds dope as ever – you ain’t gonna hear this one at Berghain.

Blak Beat Niks
‘Do You Want Me?’ (USG Dubstrumental Mix)
(1998, Pan)

This is a little known dub produced by Ron Trent and Anthony Nicholson when they were in that sweet spot releasing records like ‘NCAMEU’ and ‘Word Sound Power’.

It’s a classic deep Ron Trent jam and all his signatures are present and utilized perfectly – killer bass line, broken rhythms and ethereal synths. This used to be an okay record back in the day, now it sounds like fucking gold.

Kurt Harman
‘Keep Comin’ Back’
(1998, Prescription)

This is the vocal version of ‘Pop, Dip and Spin’ that was released in 1998 during the second incarnation of Prescription. I always thought the original of ‘Pop, Dip and Spin’ (released in 1994) was a snoozefest – a vocal was just what this track needed.

‘Teach’ / ‘Keep Me (Satisfied)’
(1994, Prescription)

From the second Noni EP on Prescription released in 1994, this is everything you want from Ron Trent and Chez Damier – hypnotic as a motherfucker with samples and keyboards flying in and out intuitively.

I don’t know how they could have left this off the Rush Hour box set; the original pressing is horrible, so if ever a record could benefit from a remastered repress, this is it.

Chez N Trent
‘Morning Factory (vocal)’
(1994, Prescription)

“Put your hand in my flame, I won’t burn you.” If there is one song that defines Ron Trent and Chez Damier’s partnership and the Prescription label, this is it.

I mean, when you can sample Kerri Chandler’s ‘Atmosphere’ and the result is a track that sounds doper than the original, then you know you’re onto something. Leaving this version off the box set is an absolute crime!



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