DJ Nate – “Da Trak Genious” (Review)
Reviewed by Mitch Strashnov Source: (Urb)
It’s hard to remember when there was a piece of music that would stun and confuse people simultaneously, where it would take multiple times to seep into minds and make sense. Then the footwork wave out of Chicago hit the internet and reached the computer screens of the wisemen at Planet Mu. Finding an exuberant amount of twisted goodness in the works of these bedroom producers (as well as dancers), they took a chance and shined a light upon producers like DJ Nate, DJ Rock, DJ Tha Pope, and many more. The one that shined the brightest and most interestingly was the collection of tunes provided by one Nathan Clarke, known mostly as DJ Nate, or Yung Baka, or Da Trak Genius, and so on and so forth. Needless to say, after some bubbling up from the underground, DJ Nate’s emotionally warped footwork tunes are finally released as a full-length album under one of his guises, Da Trak Genious. With a heavy heart and hefty package of tunes, this is an album that will continue to question dancefloor perceptions as well as compositional choreography.
Opening with “Back Up Kid”, a nice little introduction to the patented pitch-shifting and vocal sputters that Nate is known for, the album is one long ride with tunes like “Footwurk Homicide”, “Hatas Our Motivation” “Let Da Beat Build” being dancefloor crushers for anyone working the massively difficult footwork angle. However, there are softer and saccharine moments in this 808-laden affair that sounds like your right hemisphere is teetering off a ledge. Tracks such as “It’s Impossible”, “Ga Ga Lord RIP” and “A+ Mayhem” take a soulful approach, sampling from Christina Aguilera and female emo singers, along with “Let Me Show U Girl” and “Sexual Healing” providing a timewarp that’s been stomped by the feet of kids in Chicago’s M-Block. Hearing the Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye in ways you never thought you’d hear them will never get old, but it could get weirder if you’re not prepared to absorb it all in one listen.
The full-length also contains Nate’s biggest local hit, “Lil Mama Bad As Hell”, which surged his current hip-hop career. A rapper and singer now, Nate left the footwork game to try and reach a broader and potentially easier audience. It’s a bit of a shame, as you hear the closer to the record, “Poetry” and think the potential of these tunes and the ears that Nate had for finding the weirdness and appreciation for a sample in the footwork drum palette. While it’s not proper juke from the world of DJs Rashad and Spinn, it’s something that definitely deserves its place in current electronic music. While not exactly the cleanest sounding and most lush music you’ll ever hear, Da Trak Genious is a revelation to anyone thinking that juke is just 160 BPM sexually charged-vocal ghetto house. Uplifting at times and always interesting to listen to, DJ Nate’s debut Mu release is one of the most invigorating releases in recent years.
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