3/10/2014 Stepper’s Stories From DJ Sam Chatman
   

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Sam's Steppers Stories

[12/18/2014 Sam's Steppers Stories]

Sam's Story

By Sam Chatman
#samssteppersstories #steppin #steppers

Contact DJ Sam: djsamc9554@yahoo.com

The Keyman's Club was housed in this building at 4711 West Madison St. Chicago, IL

Someone asked me recently what was I valued most after being in the steppers game for so long. I had to stop and think for a minute: I was one of the first persons to use the phrase ''steppers"; what about "let's go to work"; or maybe "the steppers capital of the world; no maybe "for steppers only".

How about "steppers sharp" or anointing Jeffree's 'Love Gonna Last', the steppers national anthem. Then I thought about how many lives of young people stepping have saved. Let me elaborate: in 1974, I moved from the west side to the south side. I already had the number one steppers club set every Friday night at the Keyman's club at 4711 West Madison on the west side.

I needed a place on the south side to establish a place in my name. I didn't know the south side at all. I worked for the CTA at the time, driving on the north and west sides. The first week after I moved, I drove around looking for a place to hold my sets. I got lucky. I was driving around south on Michigan Avenue and 109th street and I saw all of these young people going into the Masonic Hall. They were having a college affair.

I witnessed at that time, what I thought was the greatest song I've ever heard. They were dancing the bump to 'The Blackbirds Do It Fluid'. It blew me away. I waited until the event was over to talk to the manager. When I told him my name was Sam Chatman, he snapped. He said his kids went to Harrison High School and that he lived on the west side. He said that his kids went to my set at the Keyman's Club every Friday night from 8pm to 2am.
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Continued

The hall of the Michigan Avenue site was in the basement of the building. It was dark and looked like a dungeon and that's what I called it 'the Dungeon on the south side.' I had some of the greatest steppers in the world. At the Dungeon the steppers took it to another level. Some of them became legends; Lil Mike, George Macaroni, Spinning Benny, Pete Frazier, Taboo, Carline, Cent, Ice Ray.

On the west side I had; Skip, Bishop Magic Juan, Linda, Pat and Mary, just to name a few. The Dungeon became so big that the west siders heard of it. The Keyman's club was even bigger than the Dungeon's crowd.

So one Sunday, I told my south side steppers that I wanted to take them to the west side the following Friday. They said, 'man, we can't go to the west side.' Most of them were either Disciples or Blackstone Rangers. On the west side there were Vice Lords and the Four-Corner Hustlers. I told them that they would not have any problems because 'you're with me.' They went, I introduced everyone and the show they put on was off-the-chain.

At the end of the first show, I went outside to insure there wouldn't be any problems. Remember, these were young people. There were a group of guys waiting across the street from the club wanting to peel the heads of the south-siders. I told them we couldn't have this and that they would be able to come to the south side without any problems.

I let them know there wouldn't be any gang banging on Friday nights at the Keyman's, and no gang banging on Sunday nights at the Dungeon. The south side leaders and the west side leaders became friends through stepping. For over 20 years there was never any gang banging at my steppers sets. There were fights but they were always one-on-one.

Have you ever stopped to think why stepper's sets became a tradition on Sunday's? In the seventies, the Disco's were packed Mondays through Saturdays. I picked Sundays because I could get any club, they were empty. Steppers could disco but Discoers could not step. Steppers like to get close and they did not like sweating. They were too cool to sweat.

Most of the steppers sets, back then, were known as thug parties. Some of the same thugs and gang leaders, you beautiful ladies see today, you are stepping with right now. Granted they have reformed and are now model citizens today. I was also shocked to find out some of the young ladies from the west and south sides married and had children with guys from both sides of town. I am also proud of how many children we are responsible for.

Just think, no one was ever shot or killed at any of my steppers sets. This is what I'm most proud of. Of the sets at McCormick Place, McCormick Inn o the Pick-Congress, there was never an incident. Basically what I'm saying is through steppin young Black Men and women were able to travel on the North, West and South sides without any gang retaliation simply because of steppin. I wish we could do that today. Today's high school kids are under so much pressure that they do not know what fun is. I love music, I love people and I love being part of the steppers community.

This is one of many stories from DJ Sam Chatman, from the Steppers Capital of the World.

Ps: because of stepping, I had the chance to meet and hang-out with the great Ollie Woodson & the Temptations, Marshall and the Chi-Lites, Smokey Robinson, Babyface and the beautiful Chante Moore. Can you imagine having the number one weekly steppers set in the Steppers Capital of the World? Every Monday night at the 50 Yard Line, let's go to work.

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