If there was ever a moment where the world of footwork needed an album like DJ Rashad‘s Double Cup, it’s right now. The evolved form of the ghetto house and juke scenes out of Chicago has turned rhythms into complex organisms, reveling in their repetition and wearing their influence on the Starter jackets that they’re performing their intricate dance movements to. For a producer like DJ Rashad, one that can name influential producers from the hip-hop world, the house world, and the jungle world as direct ingredients for this new (to many) style of dance music, Double Cup is the opus that should make people understand what many have been saying: footwork is the wave of the future.
Mind you, none of us are new to juke or footwork; we’ve been rocking to the albums that legends like RP Boo and Traxman have released over the last few years, and we’ve seen the entire TEKLIFE crew birthing names like DJ Spinn, DJ Manny, and DJ Earl. We’ve seen Addison Groove, Machinedrum, and a host of European DJs and producers embrace the sound, including Kode 9, who has gone ahead and added Rashad to his stable, releasing what could be seen as two warm-up EPs (Rollin and I Don’t Give A Fuck) before giving us Double Cup. And while Double Cup shares a lot of what made Rashad great, which can be seen in everything from the choice of sample material to the turnt-up party attitude that he employs, while also laying the groundwork for the next phase that footwork is entering.
See, footwork has never really been a genre that’s been build on other footwork songs. Most producers tend to take what inspires them and incorporate it into the sound. Be it a sick house track or some dusty samples found in their parent’s record bins, the product these footwork producers are pushing operates similarly to how the jungle and drum & bass producers were during its heyday. It then makes sense that Double Cup shares a lot of jungle aspects to it, from intriguing loops and samples (like the jazzy keys that are the building blocks to “She A Go”) to the use of straight-up jungle breakbeat editing, like the on-point amen work in “Feelin,” “Drank, Kush, Barz,” and the beginning of “I’m Too Hi.” The awesome flip of Bishop from Juice used throughout “I Don’t Give A Fuck” highlights not only how in tune to the hip-hopper in him, but the spastic, unconventional beat (this thing breaks down into a rumble and insane, spastic bleeps for most of the track). For those of you who were trying to get your party on, “Reggie” is a track that plays a great call-and-response with a diva and a cat quoting herb prices, and is followed immediately by an acid bit between Rashad and Addison Groove entitled, you guessed it, “Acid Bit,” that is the epitome of what those classic acid tones can do with some jungle-y footwork vibes.
It’s hard to pick a favorite on Double Cup. Broken down song-by-song, the tunes stand out (“Only One,” which finds Rashad linking with frequent-collaborator DJ Spinn and Taso over some lush keys and R&B vocals), but the statement is made better while listening to this project front to back. It’s the work of a producer who’s helped build a “thing,” is at the forefront of this “thing,” and decides that, instead of milking the “thing” for all its worth, pushes the boundaries of both his own creativity and what listeners might be waiting for, showcasing both the reason he’s in this power position and why this genre is at the future of dance music both in the U.S. and abroad. Sadly, unless you’re on that hipster wave or just seeking out quality, diverse sounds, UOENO.
Look, DAD fucks with a LOT of music. There’s literally too much new music coming out on the regular. And while some DAD staffers might dip off and get their trap on, or their electro house popping, my heart beats at 160BPM. From the precision riddims these producers cultivate to the inventive way they rework samples, everything feels fresh and new in their hands. And if you want to get into this scene via the most important conductor at the time being, you need to pick up Rashad’s Double Cup.