A year after his passing, it’s still extremely difficult to grapple DJ Rashad’s sudden death, but it has become increasingly important to celebrate his life, legacy and importance to footwork and contemporary music at large. It’s neither our place or within our skill set to eulogize Rashad, but with anniversary of his passing taking place this past Sunday (April 26) and our monthly slot on KCHUNG going down the next day, there wasn’t a better time to lay down some of our favorite tracks from the legend. Double Cup features heavily of course, but so does Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome To The Chi, DJ Spinn’s Teklife Vol. 2: What You Need and the dozens of other collaborative projects he helped out with and/or co-produced. DJ Earl, DJ Manny, DJ Phil, Taso and more pop up here and there and Rashad’s influence, both in terms of the raw musical inspiration he imbued and his own oversized personality, is palpable among Teklife’s younger generation. Hyperdub’s Rashad-inspired Next Life compilation is still available here and there are still so many artists from Chicago putting on for footwork and furthering the legend of Rashad Harden.
If you’ve ever attended a concert at Orange County’s The Observatory, you know that the suburban venue is not the ideal place to witness dance music. The three tiered floor, segmented by walls and steps leads to inconsistent crowd movement, awful vantage points and a disconnect between performer and crowd. I knew all of this as I entered the Santa Ana venue on Monday night (November 18), but pushed it to the back of my mind as I primed myself for a night that would feature buzzing rapper Chance (The Rapper) and footwork pioneers DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn. Dubbed the “Social Experiment” tour, the three performers (plus Chance’s three man band) had been on the road since October 25 and had played 17 shows in only 24 days. With all of the performers hailing from Chicago, the night promised an air of cohesion that few touring acts can fulfill.
At first glance, the selection of DJs Rashad and Spinn as openers might be confusing, but the decision makes all too much sense when you consider that Chance has evoked his reverence for Chicago’s juke/footwork scene on multiple occasions in the past. Rashad and Spinn’s lightning fast, syncopated rhythms might come off as at odds with Chance’s gospel-infused hip hop, but one only has to examine the Windy City’s long history of dance music with hip hop leanings and vice versa. The crowd at The Observatory might not have been ready for the 160 beats per minute flurry that Rashad and Spinn would throw at them, but Chance knew what he was getting into when he brought the two artists along with him.
After wading our way through The Observatory’s outsized parking lot, we made our way into the venue and took our place among the hordes of Chance fans chomping at the bit to shower their hero with love and reverence. Overwhelmingly Caucasian and college aged, the crowd was, by and large, dressed in the Southern California norm of street wear brands, 5 panel hats and lots and lots of camouflage. Chance came on promptly after we arrived, joined on stage by a drummer, keyboardist and trumpet player. Over the next hour, Chance would lead the crowd through most of his recent Acid Rap tape in an expansive performance that straddled the line between hip hop show and performance art.
Hit the jump to read the full recap…
Do y’all fuck with juke? ‘Cus if you’re really down with juke then you fuck with Teklife. See DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and friends are basically the foundation of the Chicago micro-genre in contemporary times. Think of them as the DMZ of juke. Not only have they been there from the start, but they’ve brought the heart attack inducing sounds to new audiences without relinquishing any artistic integrity whatsoever. The suburban masses have embraced juke over the past few years, undeniably watering down the sound, but the aforementioned dudes (and Machinedrum) are still making tip top tunes. Not resting on their laurels, Spinn released Teklife Vol. 2 on Lit City Trax this week and Rashad took on Bristol-native Addison Groove’s already huge “I Go Boom”. The results are catastrophic in the best way possible. As in you have to have real guts to show off your skills to this rapidfire jawn. The track is off of an “I Go Boom” remix EP, out November 9 via 50Weapons.
Chicago legends DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad are not ones to fuck around. From the onset of “She Turnt Up”, the intent of the track is established. Loose women, white powder and (enhanced) orange juice are the priorities for Spinn and Rashad who continue to perfect and expand upon their Juke origins. “She Turnt Up” falls more into the Ghetto House category and will appear on Teklife Vol. 2: What You Need, scheduled for an October 23 release on Lit City. Stream below.
So earlier, we posted a roundup of mixes from the likes of Baauer, Hudson Mohawke and Nguzunguzu. Well it looks like we spoke/posted too soon. It’s been quite a day for mixes (check out Mixes From The Astral Plane, Vol. 2) and we’ve got three more for your listening pleasure. We’ll make this quick so you get to it.
Dirtybird representative Eats Everything is featured in Resident Adviser Podcast 316 and said the mix was the best he’s ever done. Check it out over at RA. I’m pretty sure everyone besides us was at Sónar 2012 in Barcelona over the weekend, but in case you weren’t, relive Chicago legends DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad play out some classic juke over at Red Bull Music Academy. Houston beatsmith Sines has made quite a name for himself via his own tunes and his recently formed imprint Freshmore. Don’t miss out on his mix for Keep On Repeat.