Hatched by RP Boo and taken to the world through his Teklife crew, DJ Rashad went from a local hero to a global ambassador of the Footwork genre. One of the most daring producers of our time, DJ Rashad was at the forefront of the breakneck style of music that originated in Chicago.
A manifesto of the Chicago House scene, DJ Rashad spent his early years playing Ghetto House with his lifelong friend DJ Spinn. Ghetto House became Juke, and eventually, Juke became Footwork. While the genre kept traversing from Chicago to the hottest musical epicenters of the world, it didn’t stop Rashad from consistently shapeshifting the genre that he had pioneered and branching into newer avenues of Footwork.
His vast catalog included uncountable singles and EPs and eight albums on Hyperdub, Juke Trax, Ghettophiles. With his 2013 Hyperdub album ‘Double Cup,’ Footwork experienced widespread critical acclaim and gained further creative development as it blended elements of Jungle with Acid Techno.
He also had the superhuman ability to blend elements House, Ghetto House, Disco, Juke, And Ghettotech into his DJ sets with remarkable precision.
DJ Rashad’s influence wasn’t just restricted to Footwork. The sound started injecting itself in Drum & Bass, which led to the modern 170 BPM DNB sound slowly crunching into 165 BPM and continues to shrink further as it keeps adding Footwork influences to Drum & Bass.
DJ Rashad sadly passed away at the young age of 34 in early 2014. Still, his label honored his contribution to the scene by releasing a posthumous album the producer intended to release. In 2014, Hyperdub subsequently released Next Life, a Teklife compilation in which all proceeds went to the fund set up for DJ Rashad’s son Chad Harden. In 2015, Hyperdub released Rashad’s 6613 EP.
October 9 would have been his 42nd birthday. We are paying tribute to the Chicago phenomenon by revisiting Rashad’s greatest tracks that made him a global ambassador of the Footwork genre.
DJ RASHAD – 911[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjRU5vjd0Ag]
911 was one of Rashad’s early releases on Twilight 76 Records’ sub-label Juke Trax, and it came when the producer was bringing in a range of influences to his music. It was long before Juke had started metamorphosing into Footwork. In retrospect, it was just the beginning of DJ Rashad’s quest to bring the genre he loved to the world.
DJ RASHAD – IN DA CLUB BEFORE ELEVEN O’CLOCK[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG6TS6mJfy0]
‘In Da Club Before Eleven O’ Clock’ came a year after his 911 release on Juke Trax. The vast difference between the two releases was clear and a testament to how quickly the sound had developed under DJ Rashad’s direction. The track’s vocal samples were taken from Ciara and Chamillionaire’s 2006 hit ‘Get Up.’
DJ RASHAD – FREAKIN ME ON THE FLO[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAH4-aYIi6w]
Ghetto Tech and Juke are coming together on this one with the frantic, jumpy, and slippery futuristics of Footwork supplied to perfection. ‘Freakin Me on The Flo’ was also an example of DJ Rashad’s clever sampling of wide-ranging takes on his Footwork sounds.
DJ RASHAD – DISCO BALLZ[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue8n7iNQOEc]
When DJ Rashad released ‘Disco Ballz,’ Footwork had well and indeed invaded the wider electronic music world, and Rashad was at the hilt of its revolution. Sampled from Who Da Funk’s ‘Shiny Disco Balls,’ it will almost feel like the original tune was released after DJ Rashad’s dancefloor banger.
DJ RASHAD X DJ SPINN X DJ PAYPAL – DO U WANNA B MINE[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSi24tmjBso]
Released as part of the posthumous ‘Afterlife’ album, which his label mates released in 2016, ‘Do U Wanna B Mine’ rolls back the years when DJ Rashad was journeying between Juke and several genres before tempering it to Footwork.
Music trends and genres will come and go, but DJ Rashad’s music will always feel just as fresh as it always has, and his legacy is here to stay!