If you’ve kept your ear to London’s underground dance scene over the last six months, you’ll have noticed a lot more references to Chicago juke music springing up.
An evolution of the city’s ghetto house or booty house sound, juke is fast (usually 150-160bpm), features stripped back drum machine beats, hip-hop samples and plenty of explicit lyrics in the ghetto house tradition.
For a long time it has laid underground, distributed via mixtapes unavailable outside of Chicago, Imeem playlists and YouTube clips. It’s been a big influence on certain UK artists – the Night Slugs crew and the defunct Dress 2 Sweat label, for instance – for a while, but now the rest of the world (or at least, the weird pocket of it that reads FACT) is catching up, assisted by tracks like Addison Groove’s ‘Footcrab’, which is a slowed down footwork (the style of dancing associated with juke, and a sub-genre in its own right) tribute.
Planet Mu have, for a while now, been trying to physically release some juke in the UK, and with the announcement of new singing DJ Nate, it looks like they’ve achieved this goal:
According to Mike Paradinas (a.k.a. uZiq, who runs the Mu label): “DJ Nate, born Nathan Clark, grew up in the westside of Chicago, he is an icon in the juke world for his Footwurk Traks, made for the Footwurking battles…. These traks have their roots in chicago house tracks, such as the ‘dance mania’ label and these youngers have taken the traks hardcore for the Footwurk kids using samples from pop and hip hop, warping them in fruityloops etc: the juke house sound has evolved into something new. This is unique, new and jarring music, giving me similar feelings to when I first heard hardcore & jungle.”
Nate will release a 12” for the label, ‘Footwork Homicide’, and an album, titled Da Trak Genious [sic] in September and October respectively.