And here’s part II of this special on FOOTWORK! I do hope you enjoyed the first part. Mike of Planet Mu hooked me up with NEEMA, affiliated with Ghetto Teknitionz aka Ghettotekz, who are DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and DJ Earl), he runs the Juke Trax Online label, and is very passionate about footwork. I asked him sim questions as well about FW and got slighly different answers of course, plus we focussed a lil more on production as well, check it:

-how did FOOT WORK evolve? and whats its predecessors?

Footwork really is the evolution of house dance mainly in Chicago’s black communities.  A lot of the moves you see nowadays is just super sped up house moves.  For a lot of us, Cajmere’s track, the Perculator was really what really began the footwork dance movement.  Just to give you an example, one of the original, as well as most popular footwork crews was one called House-O-Matics.  They truly believed their dance was house dance, and they’re right absolutely right!

Music wise, it basically goes from house to ghetto house to juke and footwork.  juke and footwork aren’t usually classified as different genres simply because they grew out of the same time, and often by the same artists…a lot of whom were former footworkers.  RP Boo, Spinn, and Rashad all came from House-O-Matics while DJ Clent came from Tha Tunnel.

And there’s not a real big difference between juke and footwork.  Structurally, it’s really a lot of the same stuff, and the two sound structures are both incorporated into tracks all the time.

Now, the music has had an evolution over the past 10-15 years.  The most noticeable is that it has sped up from tracks being in the 130-140 range up to a standard of 160..155 for RP Boo.  Additionally, the tom patterns have had to change a bit since the mid to late 90s, and a lot more tracks don’t just have claps on the 2 and 4.  There’s a lot more focus on snares and kicks.

Additionally, the footwork tracks that I’ve seen people pick up on the UK are a bit dated, meaning the style has changed up a looooot since it was merely tracks with huge reliance on toms and one or two word samples.  I’ve attached some files that you can fee free to put up on your site.  But yeah, they really don’t sound anything like the Nate tracks people seem to really like out there.

-what’s the basic FOOT WORK tempo and build up? and what are your basic FOOT WORK production tools? (or which software do you use?)

I sort of mentioned this when I answered the previous question, but the tempo is pretty much set standard at 160.  some tracks have just the craziest rhythm patterns, so mixing it in and out quickly requires a friendly standard tempo.

Production tools depends on who makes it.  A lot of the older heads try to enforce the MPC 2000XL, or 3000.  A lot of the kids who start out trying to make tracks usually use off Fruity Loops.  There’s a few producers who use Fruity Loops who are just soooo good at making tracks with Fruity Loops that you would never be able to tell they were just making stuff on their desktop…however, there’s a lot of kids who use fruity loops, and for whatever reason, you can tell.  And if they’re serious about making tracks, they either try learning how to use Fruity Loops better, or they invest in getting an MPC, because everyone tells em to get one! haha.

As for sounds, a lot of people think it’s the 808 drum machine.  And a lot of the sounds are 808, but there’s a mystery machine that is cheap as hell, that RP Boo mentions in Dave Quam’s interview with him, the Roland R70.  That thing has the best 808, 909, and various other roland sounds which just can’t be beat!
-who are the best producers right now in the genre and where can we find and buy the tracks?Right now, as much as dissensus thinks I’m biased because the guys are my friends, they just can’t fathom the fact I’m pretty much friends with almost all the producers that are involved in Chicago Footwork, so I really have to say it’s DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn right now.  Traxman is still legendary, DJ Roc from BOTC is legendary, RP Boo is legendary, but those 2 (Spinn N rashad) have changed the way the music sounds so much within the past 1 or 2 years, they have gotten huge recognition because of it.  They even won an award from Walacam for best crew of the year simply because of what they’ve been creating.

As for sites, right now, there’s isn’t really one.  Electrobounce used to have some reputable juke and footwork tracks, but has started to let anybody who submits music to get a distribution deal.  We were actually trying to, and still are trying to create a website, to try and fix the problem, but I have spent the past 8 months, over $3000, and now up to 8 developers who have screwed me over.  I don’t know where the hell to go to, so if you could help me out, I’d really appreciate it!

-Mike of Planet Mu has this amazing FOOT WORK/JUKE mix up now on mixcloud, have the guys in chi found it as well? How do they react to this influencing people in Europe right now?

For the whole juke and footwork genre, we always thought a lot of the footwork tracks were never something that would pick up internationally, but it was cool for us to make em simply because we were so dedicated to the scene here, it didn’t matter!  Now that it’s picking up more than the clubby juke tracks are, it’s sort of speechless, haha.  Not a lot of people out here have heard Mike’s mix just because it’s so insular out here, but those that had were pretty damn happy to see it!  I know a lot of people were wondering why there was a lot of Nate & Trouble tracks, just because they’re sort of outdated here, but you take what you can get, haha.

Thats actually the biggest thing I’ve seen thats sort of puzzling to some people here.  It’s like, “why are there so many nate, and pope tracks on this mix?”  They’re sort of outdated, and no one really wants to footwork to some of these tracks in the first place.  It was even hard for me to understand as well why so many people in the UK were really into the Nate, Tha Pope, DJ Darkness (who know goes by DJ Oreo), and DJ Yung Tell EM.  But that’s the only stuff that was available to be heard on stuff like Imeem and youtube, so thats what shaped the opinion that that was our Chicago Footwork music.

The main reason you won’t find a lot of the more recognized guys is because a lot of the dj’s never got the recognition they deserved when they made huge hits, and other people were taking their fame, so they made their tracks damn near impossible to be taken outside of a close circle of people who they trusted.  A lot of dj’s play 90% their own material simply because they dont want to find their track on limewire with someone else’s name drop at the very beginning.  But the guys are starting to come around and trying to change that.

And you bring up an interesting question, how will people out here react to Europe being influenced.  I feel a lot of the footwork tracks I’ve heard from the UK have been more dubstep/uk funky blends with juke and footwork…so the bpm is around 140.  But here’s the thing, there’s tons of producers in Germany, Belgium, and France who have been making juke and footwork tracks for a few years.  DJ Hilti and Big Dope P are both amazing names that run off the top of my head for people who really know how to make a dope track. Basutbudet from Sweden has made a lot of ghetto tech, as well as juke tracks, and is now coming up with some style that’s blowing my mind, and the Regulate crew from Belgium have been knowing whats up for a while now!

In fact, the Chicago ghetto house scene, while insular, has had strong connections with Europe for a looooong time.  If anything, the highlight on Footwork is more like Chicago’s return to the spotlight, allowing the next generation of artists after DJ Funk, Jammin Gerald, Paul Johnson and DJ Deeon to continue a highly treasured Chicago-Europe connection.  A few guys have been out to Europe a few times, but becoming house hold names is what we really need to be.

And there are some out who are distrustful of European artists, and feel like they may appropriate the music yet again without giving the proper dues to Chicago artists.  But we have the unique opportunity right now where the technology allows us to talk to the artists who were inspired by our work, and bridge the gap between our respectfully awesome cultures.  If I were to focus on the UK for example, the Night Slugs crew has been so open and receptive to us, we can’t do anything us but consider them brothers.  Then to actually be able to talk to Mike from Planet Mu is an honour, and having gchat conversations with Headhunter is sort of something you scratch your head to and say, “Was I really just talking to Headhunter?”

Yes, these guys are huge, yes, they are more popular in the States playing juke/footwork tracks or juke/footwork inspired music than we are, but they’re more than thrilled to actually take time out of their week and set up a real dialogue, and they’re more than willing to help bring us out overseas, and give us the exposure so many have waited their whole lives to get.  I think with the right producers, and artists promoting and making this music, such as Bok Bok, Girl Unit, Headhunter, U-Ziq, this isn’t going to be a musical fad, this is going to change UK music long-term, and we’re happy to work with people who are actively trying to put the spotlight on us.

-do you have any plans to release more FOOT WORK music (besides the JUKE tracks you release) in the near future? and where can we find/buy tracks?
I personally don’t make tracks, but a lot of the guys out here are in the process of making their own labels.  It’s just such a terrible history of crappy label after crappy label being somewhat popular for a short period of time, but then pulling shady practices, so no one wants to mess with them anymore.  Now, it’s hitting that point where everyone is pretty much saying the only person I know that can’t screw me over is myself.  It’s actually a really good thing.

As for Spinn N Rashad, they’re actually going to have the first vinyl release on the new label, Ghettophiles within a month.  It’ll also be available through Beatport, Itunes, cellphones, and all those other music stores that distributors tell you you can sell your music through but no one really uses or cares about.

-since this genre is really created to do the dance too, how will this translate to Europe you think?
Its actually funny as hell, because besides it’s acceptance in the electronica music scene, we get to expose the dance to various dance scenes out in Europe.  A few of the footwork guys out here have actually created an exchange with a few members of the UK jazz fusion group, the Floor Technicians.  The dance moves, history, and people who participate in them are soooo identical.  We consider them our overseas brothers, simply because it’s basically the same culture.  Even Uk jazz fusion tracks are being picked up out here, and are being sampled to create new styles…it’s awesome!

As for Europe, it truly matters on the region.  Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve been friends with people like Big Dope P, Booty Call Crew, Mister Ries, and Dave Luxe for a while, and they not only fully embrace juke and footwork, they make it and play it at major events!  Booty Call Crew tries to make the music mainstream by throwing huge parties with headline acts like Armand Van Helden, Major Lazer, and Laidback Luke, but for the rest of the night, play straight up juke tracks.  Regulate does very much the same thing, with booking acts like DJ Sega, Bird Peterson, and Scottie B, but have the rest of the artists playing original & amazing juke tracks.  Hell, Regulate booked DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, and BIg Dope P for their last Regulate Party!  That was legendary for the guys!

However, we really want to see how the UK runs with it.  Will it be seen as IDM music, or will further fusions between dubstep/uk funky occur with footwork tracks, or will people be willing to accept it as its own genre?  I think the biggest problem I see right now is people making all these comparisons of Juke and footwork tracks to jungle.  The best way I can prove these are two completely seperate genre’s of music is by the evidence of sampling.  If juke had been inspired by jungle in any way, you would have heard someone sample a jungle track by now, but it hasn’t happened.  It’s just two completely different scenes, and while we are completely ecstatic to hear people see similarities in our music, I also see it potentially hindering the full growth of the impact this music could have on UK music.

But on the good side of the UK, they’re actually incredibly original with how they make their tracks.  It’s such a relief to hear someone make a new style of juke and footwork tracks.  We listen to soooo many tracks by soooo many artists everyday, and it all sounds the same.  The last thing a good juke track is is formulaic, but so many people send us tracks that are just so uninspiring, it’s gotten depressing.  To hear IRL or Footcrab means an experimentation of sounds that we haven’t even thought of yet!  When you have producers like Headhunter, or Girl Unit making footwork tracks, all that is is friendly competition, and friendly competition always leads to amazing innovations.

now for some music!
via our homie DAVE QUAM: RP BOO – THE ISLEY’S
crazy video collection of NEEMA: youtube can be ripped

here’s a bunch of ripped FOOTWORK tracks, all low quality, but it’s the best I can do right now, check it and if you find an actual CDR or release –  BUY IT!



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