A guide to the music genre Footwork

DJ Funk

DJ Funk

Clubbers Decktionary


aka [Chicago] Juke (see also [Detroit] Jit, Shangaan electro)

proper noun: so-called because of the associated dance crazes – essentially a contemporary form of break dance; wildly uptempo (140–170 BPM), characterised by syncopated beats laced with manically looped, pitched up (or down) vocal samples, usually from soul/reggae/hip hop records, or film dialogue.

Long-hailed for being the crucibles of house music and techno in the 80s, America’s windy and motor cities have also laid claim to their own, respective ghetto/booty house and ghetto tech/booty bass variants since the early 90s. In the last decade, the pitched-up Juke and Jit strains have emerged to take frenzied precedence, where Juke focuses almost entirely on the feet, hence ‘footwork’, and Jit encourages the dancer to move his/her arms as well. Hip hop is also integral, with the vocal hook from Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s ‘Baby C’Mon’ being sampled for RP Boo’s pioneering 1997 hit, ‘Baby Come On’.

Key figures
Among the old school are Chicago DJs Funk and Deeon (Dance Mania), Detroit DJs Assault (Assault Rifle, Electrofunk, Jefferson Avenue) and Godfather (Twilight 76, Juke Trax, DET.), plus Ann Arbor’s Disco D (RIP). DJ RP Boo first raised the Juke bar and Traxman, PJ, Clent, Spinn, Rashad, Roc and Nate have followed suit since the late 90s. Dude ‘N’ Nem’s ‘Watch My Feet' got brief MTV airplay in 2007; Ghettophiles released Overkill, a Footwork compilation, in 2010; while British electronic experimentalist and niche club music guru Mike Paranidas, aka µ-Ziq, put out Bangs & Works Volume 1 on his Planet Mu label last year. Bristol’s Addison Groove and London’s Girl Unit have consequently been incorporating elements into their productions.


You may hear some Footwork at clubs such as Coalition featuring Girl Unit, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Sun 21 Aug.

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