Mike Paradinas Introduces Juke
This features as part of our special Juke House Feature including 3 limited period digital samplers for £1 each; writing on the genre from Planet Mu’s Mike Paradinas and Ghettophiles’ Chrissy Murderbot; “Best of Juke” charts from some of Chicago’s leading DJs; and brand new digital catalogue previously unavailable digitally.
“I’d been aware of Chicago ghetto house and the Dance Mania label’s releases since the early 1990s, and indeed owned many records of that era from artists such as DJ Funk, DJ Deeon and Parris Mitchell but i’d lost touch at the end of that decade as the records stopped getting imported into the UK, and indeed stopped getting pressed altogether. I’d also heard of Chicago Juke (as ghetto house came to be known) but the little I had heard sounded very similar to Ghettotech (and even B-More club), with a steady 4/4 kick and bouncy party feel, which personally didn’t excite my musical bits.
Then in late 2008 and early ‘09, thanks to the recommendation of a friend, via Youtube, Jamglue and Imeem (the latter two now sadly defunct) I started hearing something which, to me, sounded very different; still called Juke, but somehow the party atmosphere had gone and along with it, the 4/4 kick. This was a music infused with dread, dreamlike layered and repetitive vocals, a pulsing sub-bass.. sounds and samples taken from pop, hip-hop and r&b were pitched up and down and repeated reminding me of hardcore and early jungle’s first, more primitive, experiments with sampling in the early 90s. Obviously Chicago’s producers had never heard, or at least never been influenced by UK Jungle but the parallels seem to be there to me, in the use of sub-bass and helium vocals, repetition and chopped up samples and the increasing tempo (160bpm) meaning the switch to half-speed rhythms started happening. This seemed to me to be analogous to when, around ‘93 the sped up rush of hardcore’s 150-160bpm breakbeats mutated into jungle and as the tempo kept increasing, the dread basslines started to emphasise the slower 80/90bpm interpretation of the track; or when between 2004 and 2005 2-step garage and early (horsepower) dubstep’s skippiness mutated gradually into the ‘half-step’ of Digital Mystikz and Loefah.
This newer (newer to me) sound was being described as Footworking music or ‘Foot Wurk’ and was accompanied by rapid-fire below-waist dance moves. Watching the videos and hearing the dance & music in combination made far more sense.
Before reading any further may I suggest you listen to a mix of my own ‘footwork favourites’ that I did a couple of months or so back to see whether you like the genre, it contains many tracks I’ve licensed for the upcoming Footwork compilation on Planet Mu:
Footwork dancing has a long history in Chicago being around since at least the mid 80s, one of the first and most famous Footwork groups was House-O-Matics, and weekly footwork events happen on Sundays at Walacam’s “Warzone” party and “Battlegroundz” both on Chicago’s westside. But I’m personally more interested in the evolution of the music, so forgive me if i ignore the dancers, the YPS, Heat Squad, Terra Squad etc… and concentrate on the music. It’s more my area, and I’m well aware that the footwork dance drove the evolution of the music and vice versa.
The pioneer of Footwork (for brevity’s sake when I say ‘footwork’ from now on I am referring to the particular style of juke music, rather than the dance) was RP Boo (aka Arpebu, Record Player Boo). He was one of the first to produce tracks in the ‘half-speed’ footwork style with the signature Juke tom, and clave sounds in offbeat syncopated patterns, often in triplets. DJ Clent was also an early innovator in beat patterns, but RP’s trax have an otherworldly quality which I love. Here is a link to an interview with RP by Dave Quam from his excellent blog It’s After The End Of The World
RP Boo – Total Darkness
The repetitive looped vocals of which ‘Total Darkness’ is almost entirely made give the track a dream-like hypnotic intensity.
RP Boo – Eraser
Taking a sample of Wings and making it one of the darkest tracks i’ve heard.
RP Boo – Steam Midity
These tracks are all from about 2007.
The DJs Rashad (Harden) and Spinn (Morris Harper) From GetoTeknitianz are pretty much the undisputed kings of Footwork Djing. Here is a video of Rashad DJing at a footwork event (Battlegroundz I Think?). Rashads trax are full of tight funk and very on-point and danceable rhythms. A couple of tracks below:
DJ Rashad – Drop Juke Out
Very hip hop feel in the half speed syncopations here… again the hypnotic repetitive vox give the track a great feel, one of my favourites from the Juke Trax label, which I believe will soon be available on Bleep.
DJ Rashad – Itz Not Rite
Here Rashad cuts up the track making one of the most abstract footwork rhythms yet out of the space between the samples, masterpiece. This is the lead track on Rashad’s forthcoming Planet Mu EP.
Another popular DJ is DJ Roc (Clarence Johnson), whose ‘Bosses of the circle’ crew were on of the first (so he tells me) to start selling cd mixtapes of Footwork and Juke mixes. His style is somewhere between the straight Juke and Footwork styles. I cannot find much DJ Roc on youtube, but there are quite a few of his older more juke style tracks on DJ Slugo’s Subterranean Playhouse label and he has a release forthcoming in a couple of months on planet mu.
DJ Roc – Let Me Go mixed into P.A.N.I.C.
There is also a style which has been referred to as “Bedroom Juke”. Lots of tracks posted on youtube by self-styled “DJs” such as DJ Nate meaning producer in this case as I’m pretty sure Nate can’t DJ, but these guys (and some girls such as DJ Ga Ga aka Jerrilynn Patton) wanted to get involved with the scene but had varying levels of success in acheiving popularity and many have gone on to pursue careers in hiphop rapping and production. These ‘Bedroom juke’ or ‘Youtube Juke’ tracks have tended to be a little more abstract and plentiful with tom fills and off kilter rhythms. These were very popular among the younger generation in high school, and mixtapes were passed around class.
DJ Nate – give dat man room
DJ Nate – time
Another guy who made footwork and is now producing hip hop under the name ‘DJ Spacey” is DJ Trouble (aka Prentice Livingston) whose trax have a lot of style and emotion:
DJ Trouble – fuck em up
DJ Trouble – Bangs & Works
DJ Tha Pope is “Chicago’s youngest celebrity” and presents on channel 19. I can’t find his best tracks on youtube, but here are a couple of good ones:
Tha Pope – one blood
Tha Pope – Everybody Bob
DJ Elmoe – whea yo ghost at
You’ll hear a lot more of the goodness when Planet Mu release their Foot Wurk compilation “Bangs & Wurks” early next year. In the meantime we’ve got releases from DJ Nate, DJ Roc and DJ Rashad before the end of the year.”
Editor’s Note: We changed the title of this post from “Mike Paradinas Introduces Juke House” to “Mike Paradinas Introduces Juke”…
We was unaware that “Juke House” means a brothel house in some parts of the world!
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010 at 09:59 and is filed under Interviews, Music News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.