Juke: Chicago Speaks

I’ve been trying to track down some of the Chicago juke DJs and producers for a few weeks now, for a feature for Hyponik. I’ve still got a lot of research to do but I’ve got a few sneaky bits from this interview with new Planet Mu signing DJ Roc (I’ve done half an interview with DJ Rashad but I had to call back because it was tricky to give me juke timelines at the same time as packing a suitcase for an imminent trip to Atlanta). I’ll put all the transcripts up when the piece is out.

Definitely check out the Wala link at the end. Some crazy dance moves there.

Over to you, DJ Roc…

People are taking a lot more notice of Chicago music again. Why do you think that’s happening now?
There’s a lot of activity in Chicago and a lot of talent. Chicago is the originator of a lot of things. We got history. Now people are paying attention. They giving Chicago a chance.

How connected is juke to Chicago’s history of house music?
I sit back and I wonder and I listen to the tracks that were made in the ’80s. It’s a big transformation to juke and footwork. Time just changed, people keeping up with new things. It’s more modern than it’s ever been.

What made it speed up?
The footwork. The dancing.

A lot of the old Chicago DJs started playing when they were really young. How long have you been DJing for?
I was always a speaker head. I would build my own speakers. I’m into electronics and I’m into music so I’d build my little system and put it by my window and have a little party outside my window. I’d use two Playstations, a four channel mixer, two 15″ woofers and I’d do my stuff out in the back yard and I’d throw parties in my hood. I was getting connected with DJ PJ, there was a lot of things going on.

Where did you start throwing parties?
This place we had, it was really no name, it was on 111th between Ebrook and Michegan. It was a hall There was a church on the first floor, we were on the second floor. It was a nice little space. That’s when we first at our peak, and filling the place up to full capacity, 400 people. It was super packed.

What was the vibe?
It was peaceful, everybody was dancing, you had footwork circles all around the place, hip rollers hip rolling to their favourite song, it was just fun. DJ Clent they was doing the same thing, Spin and Rashan doing the same thing at the YMCA right up the street from where we was doing ours. We went to their parties.

When was this?
Probably… I only went there a few times. I was a freshman at high school, probably ’98-2002, I’m not sure.

Where do you hear juke now in Chicago?
If you want to hear juke you got to go to a Wala event. That’s where they do footwork competitions and hip rolling. If you want to get a feel of the whole movement, what’s going on here, that’s where you got to go.

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