The Chicago native began clubbing and buying records while studying at the University of Illinois. He later graduated with a degree in chemical engineering (and even attended several years of grad school at UC-Berkeley), but then returned to his hometown in 1991 with a drive to begin recording and DJing around the area. His first track "Coffee Pot (It's Time for the Percolator)" was released in 1992 as Cajmere on Clubhouse Records. That same year, Cajmere worked on production for "Get With U" by Lidell Townsell, then hooked up with another Chicago vocalist, Dajae
. After the pair recorded a breakout single named "Brighter Days," Cajmere decided to form his own Cajual Records to release it. "Brighter Days" ascended to the number two position on the dance charts and became an international smash; it was the perfect remedy to Chicago's quickly deteriorating fortunes, a track which looked back to the '80s boom years but updated the sound with heavier beats, low-end synth and up-to-date programming.
Subsequent Dajae/Cajual collaborations like "U Got Me Up" and "Day by Day" followed, and Cajmere eventually set up his Relief label in 1994. After deciding that the house scene needed a bit more showmanship, he created the alias Green Velvet
for live gigs and DJ events. A kind of digital-age Bootsy Collins
with impeccable fashion sense, Green Velvet
hit the club charts with a trio of anthems from 1995 to 1997: "Flash," "The Stalker" and "Answering Machine." While no full-length appeared from either Cajmere or Green Velvet during those years, Cajual/Relief compilations like The Many Shades of Cajual, A Taste of Cajual and Relief: The Future Sound of Chicago collected all of his best productions. [See Also: Green Velvet
] ~ John Bush