Much has been documented on the Chicago-born genre, Footwork. In recent years, the explosive genre has taken new and interesting forms through a canny bunch of nu-skool producers, all continuing to instill a truly independent attitude. DJ Earl is one of the genres’ main contemporaries.
Since 2012, DJ Earl’s tracks have become sought after gems, time after time. Pulling together classic footwork foundations with other sentiments from jazz, funk and hip-hop (think the vastly sonic, somehow orchestral works of J. Dilla, Timbaland and 9th Wonder). First finding a home with labels such as DJ Rashad’s Teklife and Moveltraxx, he later landed on Planet Mu and Hyperdub. Still, Earl is unafraid to dish out unannounced self-releases.
This unwavering and independent spirit is one that embodies footwork. The producers who continue to propel the genre forward are immersed in this attitude of boundless music making, seeing a continuous flow of exciting dancefloor movers. Ahead of his second album ‘BASS + FUNK & SOUL’ forthcoming on Moveltraxx, we asked DJ Earl to pick ten tracks that touch on the spirit of footwork:
“I made this top 10 with a mix of new and older tracks that were designed to move footwork circles. It’s something special about a footwork track that just pushes the energy to the highest level.”
RP BOO – ’02-53-03′ (Planet Mu)
I GREW UP ON THIS TRACK IT WAS ONE THE MY EARLIEST EXAMPLES OF WHAT A FOOTWORK TRACK SOUNDED LIKE. I loved the way the horns are chopped
DJ Diamond – I Choose You (Planet Mu)
DJ DIAMOND IS A KEY FIGURE IN THE FOOTWORK SCENE IN CHICAGO HE MADE HIS NAME IN THE STREETS AND DJING AT LOCAL EVENTS I CHOOSE THIS TRACK BECAUSE IT REPRESENTS A CERTAIN ERA OF FOOTWORK SOUND THAT I EVENTUALLY GREW INTO BEING APART OF.
DJ Clent – Back Up Off Me (Juke Trax)
One of the most classic footwork tracks ever I used to hear this song on the radio as a kid and they still play it to this day. This track is all about that footwork circle energy.
DJ Rashad – Reverb (Self-Released)
RIP DJ Rashad. I was actually present during the making of this track. This tracks energy is just unmatched one of the most hype percussion only footwork tracks I ever encountered.
DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad – Oh God (Teklife)
This track has been played alot one of the cultures favorite & I love this track because of where the melody came from “Theme From Midnight Express By Giorgio Morodor” Rashad & Spinn’s love for these kind of samples is and always has been present in their discography and its some of my fav material from the them.
DJ Frost – I Wish (Self-Released)
DJ Frost I wish probably the sleeper of this list comes from a Beyonce song called I wish. It just has that soulful feeling too it a more smoother footwork cut than aggressive like most of the list.
DJ Manny – 8th In A Wood (Self-Released)
DJ Manny is probably of the cultures most creative minds, 8th in a wood is just a banger a anthem that resonates. This track always destroys the dance floor.
DJ Rashad & DJ Phil – Everyday Of My Life (Hyperdub)
Everyday of my life is a modern day classic the samples the trap snares the smooth piano truly a footwork masterpiece.
Heavee – 8 bit shit (Hyperdub)
I love this track because of my love for synthesized music. This track just has a bright but adventurous video game feel to it. One of my favs played this in a lot of dancefloors.
DJ Clent – Hit It From The Baaaaaaaaaaakkkkk (Self-Released)
This track is just raw heat with the instantly viral “Gucci Mane & Charlemagne The God Interview” Chopped into a battle ready anthem. Like myself Clent is a deep lover of bass and this tracks bass lines are incredible to me.
DJ Earl – Bass Hitt (Self-Released)
Bass hit is one of my favorite tracks from myself of all time. I made this track to embody the mindset of a footwork producer / dj. Pull up to the set cause you know we getting lit let that bass hit.
DJ Earl’s ‘BASS + FUNK & SOUL’ LP is out 4th December via Moveltraxx.
Check out single ‘WRK DAT BODY’ below.
Photo Credit: Janay Marie