Interview with Juke’s DJ Rashad

I interviewed DJ Rashad for the ongoing footwork feature I’ve been working on, and have just finished. I’ll post it when it’s up, but in the meantime, here’s a short interview with the man behind tracks like ‘Itz Not Rite’ and one of my personal favourites ‘Teknitianz‘. It’s short, but that’s because after about 15 minutes he said he needed to finish packing and that we’d carry on the interview later. That didn’t happen, but it didn’t really matter cuz I’d got enough to get on with.

So can you tell me where you are?
I’m on my way to Atlanta… I’m good. I’m packing.

Are people taking notice of juke?
I think it is the case… why? Maybe cuz it’s something new to the people who haven’t heard it before. And maybe they want to juke.

Has something changed in your scene?
We’ve changed as well as the outside. We changed more. We matured in our music over the years. As far as me and Spinn and Gant goes, I think it’s us that changed. Plus the time and the generation as well. The newer kids coming up in the dance world. Music today kind of sucks in my opinion. The rap game has fallen off ain’t nothing really good coming it. I feel music ain’t what it used to be, R&B and hip hop. Jay-Z… today you could make a song about anything. It’s hard to explain. Maybe six years ago it was more hip hop, now it’s just about shooting everybody and hitting girls in the mouth. It’s not real any more.

Juke tracks are pretty raw…
Very raw. That’s the thing. Juke, the juke I make is more commercial. Footwork is more the raw. I express myself more in the footwork area and it more raw, there’s no law. Juke has to be DJ and radio friendly.

Can you break it down for us. What’s the difference between juke and footwork?
Juke is the music but footwork is the music and the dance. I was doing footwork from the beginning, but due to going out of town, people weren’t familiar with the one-clap, so we had to remake top 40 tunes, juke ’em out. [Kanye West’s] Flashing Lights or something we juked it out so people that were familiar with that song could get familiar with our songs, and get ’em interested.

What are the main components of a juke track?
Depends. If it’s a remix it has to be a good sample, good nice, toms, nice hi-hat. I like to use synths and pianos. It all depends on how you feel. I just go in and go from the tops. 160 -150 bps, 160s the max.

What about footwork. What are the basic ingredients of a track?
It’s the same thing, only difference is I might chop the sample up a bit different or loop it a bit longer than for a juke remix. On a footwork beat the claps might like be half time instead of 4/4.

Can you give us a basic timeline of juke?
They stared calling it juke in 2000, 1999, cuz at first it was ghetto house. Then DJ Poncho and Gant Man came up with the word juke. It was something that was a word for ‘it’s going down’ or it’s jumping or popping. That’s how it came out, Then they came with a song called ‘Juke Dat’ and that was it.

What’s happening for you now?
I’ve gotten more parties over the last couple of months. We get a lot of pop to do out of town gigs. A lot of interviews, as well as in the US. It’s a good things. I’m glad people are checking us out and appreciating the music.

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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