DJ Rashad, I Don’t Give A Fuck


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DJ Rashad seems to be one of the most illustrious representatives of the Chicago footwork scene. Starting out as a DJ at age 12 and achieving notorious popularity while playing out, he released his first single on key ghetto-house label Dance Mania alongside DJ Spinn. Both have become the touring ambassadors of footwork in the past two years, each releasing an extensive collection of tracks last year on Lit City Trax. Their rapid-fire rhythms and vocal chops collided with wider club culture, especially UK dance culture. From the sound of it, this cross-pollination seems crucially vitalizing — at least in the case of DJ Rashad.

What started as an experimental glimpse of jungle-style breaks on last year’s “Bakk Off” has apparently become a new thing in juke, especially after his sentimental drum and bass/soul workouts of the Rollin’ EP on Hyperdub. Whether this shift was actually brought on by the latent influence of his British contemporaries doesn’t really matter; footwork has long been a communal form of music, always made for someone to dance to. But Rashad isn’t just putting out tracks for local dancers on the South Side of Chicago, anymore — he’s producing them for the Internet connected world. When a nascent genre enters this stage, its exposure to a global audience of listeners and imitators alike can ultimately lead to watering down of its initial qualities. But surprisingly, while footwork finds itself playing out to dramatically different dance floors, its intrinsic form still refuses to be compromised.

The four tracks on DJ Rashad’s new offering, I Don’t Give A Fuck, are short and to the point, continually in high-speed motion, with a deep emphasis on the human voice. Rashad’s been perfecting his vocal science for a while, and there’s a confidence now where he’s freely able to attack the senses with linguistic shrapnel at such mind-melting speed and unpredictability it’s tough to decipher their meaning or order. The results can be brilliantly subversive, especially when dealing with his hyper-specific choice of samples. On “I Don’t Give A Fuck,” he uses a droning bass pulse and a Morse code-like bleep to present curiously chopped Tupac dialogue from 1992. His collaborative effort with FreshMoon, called “Everybody,” he flips a YouTube clip from “Intervention” into a multidirectional staircase of vocal shavings flying through a kind of trap/jungle hybrid.

The remaining tracks feature established collaborators, DJ Manny and DJ Spinn, and their recognizable sonic signifiers. On “Way I Feel” with DJ Manny, a young Chicago dancer and producer, Mary J. Blige’s sliced emotional mantra is massaged by bass throbs as endlessly ascending riff toys with a classic chord progression. “Brighter Dayz” reworks Cajmere’s classic at centrifuge tempos only to reveal both jungle meltdowns and more subdued piano melodies. I Don’t Give A Fuck is a massive alliance of hip-hop, house/techno, and jungle production methods, with a producer willing to show the full extent of his skills — having fun not giving a fuck about conventions. The pace at which DJ Rashad evolves is frightening: with each subsequent release, footwork gets more excitingly out of place and closer to being this generation’s futuristic, psychedelic bass music. Whether or not it congeals as well across an LP will be revealed by his forthcoming album on Hyperdub.


Little White Earbuds August Charts 2013 | Little White Earbuds  on August 30, 2013 at 4:37 PM

[…] Tomorrow” [The Harmony Society] 06. Rene Hell, “Merci Cheri” [PAN] 07. DJ Rashad & DJ Manny, “Way I Feel” [Hyperdub] 08. Gilder, “Meta Station” [white] 09. Donato Dozzy, “Vaporware […]

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