DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn are vital figureheads of Chicago juke/footwork – a genre sometimes affectionately referred to as the bastard offspring descendant of the Windy City’s historic house music tradition. Long a local Chi phenomenon, juke’s supremely spastic amalgamation of booty house and ghetto tech rhythms has enjoyed quite the global influence in recent years, especially in that land of progressive party people, the United Kingdom. Folks out there might vouch for juke’s stylistic parallels with old school hardcore jungle. However, being an organically urban, resourceful as hell DJ/dancer/battle driven culture, juke can’t help but remind us a little of this thing that started out way back when up in the Bronx (where the people are fresh). Former dancers turned producing and DJ partners, Rashad and Spinn readily acknowledge hip-hop’s influence on their music. (Says Rashad: “Hip hop was part of my life. It’s something I love and still love to this day – especially the older hip-hop. We definitely fans… Why not put it in our music?”) We asked these Midwestern renegades of funk for a list of their favorite sample flips, and how these picks in turn morphed into juke/footwork creations of their own.
HIT UP THE THUMBNAILS ABOVE TO CHECK OUT RASHAD AND SPINN’S FAVORITE SAMPLE FLIPS
1. Ed O.G & Da B.U.L.L.D.O.G.S. – “Be a Father To Your Child” (PWL, 1991)
PRODUCERS: Joe Mansfield, Special K, Teddy Ted
SAMPLE SOURCE: Roy Ayers Ubiquity – “Searching” (Polydor, 1976)
JUKE BONUS: DJ Rashad – “Roy Ayers Show”
DJ Rashad: Before I heard the Roy Ayers song, I heard “Be a Father To Your Child” by Ed O.G & Da B.U.L.L.D.O.G.S. I was young when I heard it but the way they flipped it with the horns, [I always thought] that was dope. I was young at the time so I didn’t know who Roy Ayers was. I liked the way they used the beginning and the middle part of the song. And they used a breakdown with the horn in it. What I used for my [juke] version of “Searching” is the chorus. I used the part [Ed O.G] used as well, plus a little more that they didn’t use. I had to time stretch it to 80 bpm, make sure it was on beat to 160 bpm, and just chopped it up.
2. Little Brother – “Not Enough” (Atlantic, 2005)
PRODUCER: 9th Wonder
SAMPLE SOURCE: Teddy Pendergrass – “Easy, Easy, Got to Take It Easy” (Philadelphia International, 1977)
JUKE BONUS: DJ Spinn – “Not E Nuff”
DJ Spinn: It’s a dope track. 9th Wonder sampled the singing and chopped up the melody at the same time. It’s like a double layer effect that he put on it. When I heard it, I was like, man, that’s dope. It’s nuts. Just the vibe. It’s just so soulful that I just had to go into the studio and chop that up [and create a juke track from it]. The hip-hop with the juke. That’s what we on. That’s how we do, man. Put the tracks in Ableton, chop ’em up how we want ’em, how we like it, and make a smooth transition from the hip-hop or the original [sample] to the juke/footwork track.
3. Black Moon – “Who Got the Props” (Nervous, 1993)
PRODUCER: DJ Evil Dee (Da Beatminerz)
SAMPLE SOURCE: Ronnie Laws – “Tidal Wave” (Blue Note, 1975)
JUKE BONUS: DJ Rashad – “On Yo Face”
DJ Rashad: What I liked about [“Who Got the Props”] was it was just funky, man. I just loved it. I thought Black Moon played [that keyboard sample] when I heard it, because I was young. I thought they were geniuses. How ever they came up with it was just dope. [When I created a juke track from it], I just followed the way [Evil Dee] did it kinda like, and copied his style with it a little bit and flipped it my way too a little bit. Trying to bring it back a little bit for the people I play for. [There’s] definitely [an overlap between hip-hop and juke]. That’s why we do it. We do it for our own listening [pleasure]. But [it’s cool] to like try to reach out to people in the crowd [and make them think], “Oh, I know that tune.” Especially with our music being [something] that some of them never heard before. If they hear a popular rap song or something they used to like, it kinda lures ’em into our music.
DJ Spinn: Hip-hop – in a nutshell, that’s our life before house. Then house came in and took over, but we still love hip-hop. We didn’t wanna rap per se. That’d a been cool or whatever, but everybody wanted to be rappers. Everybody started from footworking to rapping. So we just wanted to break that chain. Let’s go from footworking and go produce tracks. Do something totally different off the spectrum from what everybody else doing.
4. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis” (Roc-A-Fella, 2011)
PRODUCER: Kanye West
SAMPLE SOURCE: Otis Redding – “Try a Little Tenderness” (Stax, 1966)
JUKE BONUS: DJ Spinn – “Tis”
DJ Spinn: When I first heard the track I’m not gonna lie. It kinda threw me off a little bit. It wasn’t they [usual] swag at first. Then I seen the video and I’m like, aw yeah, this a hit, right here. I gotta go flip this right now. The way Kanye chopped it I pretty much did it the exact same way – just juke style. ’Cause he from Chicago, we all from Chicago, and it’s like a homage thing. I had to do it. I’m pretty sure, [Kanye]’s aware of [juke]. I mean we all grew up on house music in Chicago. He did the “Work Out Plan” song, “Stronger.” He did a couple joints that sound juke-ish.
We knew [the sample] was Otis Redding – “[Try] a Little Tenderness.” But [when] I went and checked out [the original sample], man, I learned a lot more about Otis [than I knew before]. I didn’t know that he died in a plane crash with four of the Bar-Kays – and at a young age. I think he was only like 26. I’m like, wow. Just doing this type of research schools you. I want people to do this with my music one day.
5. DJ Rashad – “Ghetto Tekz Runn It”
PRODUCER: DJ Rashad
SAMPLE SOURCE: Bobby Caldwell – “What You Won’t Do For Love” (Clouds, 1978)
DJ Rashad: That [Bobby Caldwell] song, man, is just amazing to me because I grew up listening to it. Like my parents use to play it when I was young. That’s all I kinda knew was the old school thing. I can’t say I copied [the way I sampled it] off a rap guy or anything. But I just took the parts I liked, and flipped it like it was a rap beat. I just knew the song. I chopped up [the line], “I came back to let you know,” the part with the horns, of course, and then the melody at the end. The reason I sampled the vocal part was because I come in and say, “Ghetto Tekz run this show.” So it’s an answer back to the sample and that’s what I try to do with most of my samples when I sample. I try to make it link back to the new song, so it kinda goes back and forth with each other and it relates.
6. DJ Spinn – "Just Boogie”
PRODUCER: DJ Spinn
SAMPLE SOURCE: Jamiroquai – “Canned Heat” (Sony, 1999)
DJ Spinn: I was watching Napoleon Dynamite and at the end of the movie there’s a crazy dance sequence where Napoleon Dynamite does his thing with these old school snowboots on. I was like, man, that sound hot. So I go back and I actually sampled it first from the movie. And then I’m like, it’s a real song? I never knew because [you don’t hear] the singing in the movie. So I went back and found the [song] – Jamiroquai, “Canned Heat.” And I’m like, oh yeah, we gotta flip that around. It’s like a disco sounding song. I just chopped up the singing: “This boogie is for real.” The melodies in the song caught me – the chords. It’s just super dope. So it was like, that’s a juke track right there.
7. DJ Rashad – “Jayfunk”
PRODUCER: DJ Rashad
SAMPLE SOURCES: Jay Electronica – “Extra Extra” (web track, 2008)
Dudley Perkins – “Dear God (Instrumental)” (Stones Throw, 2006)
DJ Rashad: We actually sampled the instrumental [of the Jay Electronica song] from [the Madlib produced track for Dudley Perkins]. Same thing, time stretched it again, chopped it up a little different from how they did it, threw some synths behind it, played the chords with it. The violins on that track, man, [is what first stood out to me]. And somebody’s [voice] going, “Aaayyyy!” It’s like James Brown or someone screaming in the background. And when I heard that I was like, fuck, man, I gotta fuck with it. [What we sample] can be anything. If it’s hot or it catches our attention we’ll fuck with it. We figure if [a sound] catches our attention it’ll catch other people’s attention as well. A lot of songs we’ve done in the past was like just for our own listening [pleasure]. And we’d just play ’em for certain people and they’d turn into something [different] what we originally thought it was. It’s pretty cool how things can turn out.
8. Jay Electronica – “Exhibit C” (Decon, 2009)
PRODUCER: Just Blaze
SAMPLE SOURCE: Billy Stewart – “Cross My Heart” (Chess, 1967)
JUKE BONUS: DJ Spinn – “Exhibit G”
DJ Spinn: Aw, man, this was crazy. Just Blaze – he know how to play instruments. So I heard elements where he added other stuff that wasn’t in the [original sample]. I was like, man, that sample was so dope. So it was a must-juke, shall I say. I liked what [Jay Electronica was] sayin’ so I had to snatch up some of his words. The chorus and: “You better build and destroy where you come from.” It’s really subliminal. I wanted to get that message across. And then at the same time I sampled another part where he say: “Fighting, shooting dice, smoking weed on the corner.” Then I chopped that to just: “Lovin’ – smoking weed.” We smoke a lot of weed. It’s no lie. [It’s] one of my biggest influences in music: a lot of trees. Had to do that.
9. Three 6 Mafia ft. Project Pat - "Who The Crunkest" (Hypnotize Minds, 1999)
PRODUCERS: DJ Paul, Juicy J
SAMPLE SOURCE: Rodney O & Joe Cooley – “Everlasting Bass” (Egyptian Empire, 1988)
JUKE BONUS: DJ Rashad – “On Da Run”
DJ Rashad: Three 6 Mafia samples [“Everlasting Bass”] in a lot of their songs. They switch it up a little bit too but you know it’s that. They have actually done so many songs to it to where they’ve replayed it themselves – the whole thing – and played it the same way. [For my juke track that samples “Everlasting Bass”], I took just a little horn [synth sound]. And I just chopped it up and played it over in the keys. Chopped it up and replayed it, just changed the melody.
10. DJ Spinn – “Wevie Stonder”
PRODUCER: DJ Spinn
SAMPLE SOURCE: Stevie Wonder – “You’ve Got It Bad Girl” (Tamla, 1972)
DJ Spinn: We got a track we made – it’s from a Stevie Wonder tune. It didn’t come from no hip-hop. Just [from] diggin’ through the crates ’cause we love Stevie. That’s one of my inspirations in music. Whenever we do a track off Stevie it’s really just to keep [his music] going. Stevie ain’t really made nothing as far as [recently], but he don’t got to. His catalog stretch so far back. And just the emphasis of the music from the ’70s and ’60s, it’s a different feel. We still go to the ’80s [to sample]. But that ’60s, ’70s music is that soul music – it’s from the heart. We chopped up “You Got it Bad Girl.” That’s actually our first Ableton track. Man, working in Ableton and just the sound with it being in stereo [is great]. We sample a lot in mono just to save sample space in the MPC. So [we] get that stereo sound where it still sound crispy like how Stevie made it – but just juked out.
We can thank our parents for that [influence]. Being little sitting in the backseat [listening to these older songs]. “What is he doing singing that?” Just a memory will pop back. I love that song. I’m-a make a juke track out of that.