In his wonderfully titled essay, ‘Ghetto Thermodynamics’, the academic Dhanveer Brar analyses the presence of the producer in footwork, namely footwork’s biggest producer DJ Rashad. He begins by stating that "footwork has never been made by producers. Footwork is the outcome of pressure created by the movement of dancers. What is heard in footwork is the force of dancers’ movements within the circle" creating some kind of sonic imprint on the DJ/producer. He goes on, however, to posit that "footwork is the outcome of producers pressurising movements from dancers. Rashad drove the kineticism of their limbs as they battled", not issuing them instructions on movements but merely "compel[ling] dancers to battle". This back-and-forth continues throughout the piece, making it clear to the reader that footwork is not merely a musical genre, but indefinable cultural phenomenon with specific and deeply-engrained roots in the Chicago dance battles which spurred on the music’s production and ultimate exposure to the world.
Read the rest of the piece on Clash Magazine
[This piece was originally published in Clash Magazine on 16/12/16]