This Class of 1990 series is near and dear to my heart because I'm actually a member of that class, having graduated from high school and started college in that year. Growing up in South Florida pre-Internet age, BET and MTV were my lifelines to keep me in the musical know. Thankfully when I moved to Washington, DC in August of '90, I would be exposed to a whole new world of sound. My classmates came to this international city from all over the globe and they brought their music and varied tastes with them, and at house parties we were all one nation under a groove. One genre that would set every party off without fail was house music, the daughter of disco that had by this time spread like wildfire beyond Chicago and New York City. When house went mainstream at the dawn of the decade and had children of its own (dance, electronica, drum and bass), it was inevitable. Although there were some questionable acts getting signed and suspect records being released, there were a handful of mad decent releases, including Deee-Lite's World Clique.
The group itself lived up to their debut album's title, consisting of Ukranian Super DJ Dimitry, Midwestern-bred Lady Miss Kier and Towa Tei from Tokyo. What seemed like an eclectic bunch to many was par for the course from the NYC club scene from whence they came. World Clique introduced the trio's stylish blend of house, club and pop to a wider audience and the album's first single, "Groove Is In the Heart," was a funk-filled fun-fest. The addition of A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip and bassist extraordinaire Bootsy Collins on the track and in the video gave this motley crew some street cred and helped them to gain urban fans.
"Groove Is In the Heart" may have been the biggest hit from this album and of their career, but there was so much more to World Clique. The songs "Power Of Love" and "Good Beat" were solid dance grooves. While "What Is Love?" and the instrumental "Build the Bridge" could be considered house classics. Even though she wasn't the best singer, Lady Miss Keir knew her limitations, found her comfort zone and did just enough on the tracks that Dimitry and Towa provided to make the songs enjoyable.
After six years and two more albums, Deee-Lite decided to pull the plug on their unique music machine and go their separate ways. Twenty years later, all three original members are still involved in music and all DJs. Supa DJ Dimitry is based in Berlin, Germany and creating music for local acts there. Towa Tei returned to Tokyo and has found the most success post-Deee-Lite with numerous solo albums and production credits while holding down a weekly residency. With her mile-high platforms, provocative outfits and sexy aesthetic, lead singer Lady Miss Keir was just one of many who laid the blueprint for Lady Gaga. Today Keir is DJing, modeling and is quite the social media butterfly with a strong online presence. Just Google her and check her resume.
Has World Clique stood the test of time? For me it has. The songs that I loved then remain favorites, and I will put this CD on from time to time to get a fix and to feel the fun and freedom of being 18 again.