2010 will be seen as the year where footwork went overground, at least when it comes to European exposure. One of the men who has been instrumental in bringing this about has been Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas, throwing his weight behind the sound with releases from DJ Nate, DJ Roc and the man who is arguably the most popular contemporary producer on the Chicago scene, DJ Rashad.
With the exception of the lead cut's stuttering soul-infused clap frenzy—which was released digitally on the Juke Trax imprint late last year—Itz Not Rite is comprised of entirely fresh material, giving listeners a good idea of where his production head has been of late. If the brash lo-fi rumblings of "Teknitianz" are anything to go by, we can expect his material to go in a darker, more bass-heavy direction, although the loopy hip-hop and R&B vocals of "10 on Da Cush" hint that he's not fully left that particular direction behind. The latter is a particular highlight, its use of stabbed brass and strings opening out into a jazzy sax riff and relentless hi-hats. Modulation is a tool that is rarely employed in modern footwork, so it's pleasing to hear Rashad use it to bring a dramatic edge to the frenetic electro-tinged arpeggios of "Who's the Coldest." "Baby"'s jerky rhythmic chops create a similar edge with a much different technique, and should prove to be a favourite with DJs looking to cause a spasmodic effect on the floor.
Many of the Dance Mania releases featured a short "shouts" track as the last cut on the B-side, which usually comprised of stripped down beats and spoken dedications to either the artist behind the release or their contemporaries, and Rashad continues in this tradition. Although it'll most probably feature heavily in his own sets as a kind of signature, its rudimentary production doesn't make up for the fact that the simple vocal is looped almost to the point of annoyance. Still, there are five tracks here that are worthy of a place in any modern footwork DJ's set, and should keep fans happy before Mu's Bangs & Works Vol. 1 compilation drops early next year.
Buy DJ Rashad - Itz Not Rite at
Tracklist: DJ Rashad - Itz Not Rite A1 Itz Not Rite
A3 10 On Da Cush
B1 Who Da Coldest