DJ Roc – The Crack Capone

  • DJ Roc - The Crack Capone

    Reviewed by Chris Downton Source: (Cyclic Defrost)

    <b> DJ Roc </b> - The Crack Capone

    Alongside DJ Nate, DJ Roc (real name Clarence Johnson) is easily one of the most high profile and respected figures to emerge from Chicago’s footwork / juke scene, first playing his own footwork tracks and re-edits at local parties around 2004, before going on to spend the last few years releasing his now legendary in the scene ‘Juke City’ mix CDs alongside his Bosses Of The Circle crew. In many senses this debut album ‘The Crack Capone’ fulfils a similar function to DJ Nate’s recent ‘Da Track Genious’, distilling a sprawling backcatalogue that’s predominantly been previously released as limited CDRs, mixtapes and online tracks into a single coherent ‘introductory’ sampler. In that respect it certainly succeeds admirably, and personally I thought it just slightly edged out ‘Da Track Genious’ as a complete album listen, with DJ Roc applying perceptibly more variety to the 20 tracks collected here than Nate showcased on his debut (those looking for a more in-depth encapsulation of exactly what footwork / juke is about should probably go check out my DJ Nate review at this point).

    Given that these 20 tracks have been crafted specifically for street-style footworkin’ dance battles, the treacherous snapping polyrhythms designed to push dancers’ ankle dexterity to its limits, the music itself can’t help but lose some of its vital context when divorced from the Chicago streets (once again, amateur-filmed Youtube videos are probably the best place for those seeking more background on this newer subgenre). While Nate’s ‘Da Track Genious’ felt distinctly ‘functional’ and even brittle at points however, it’s the increased bass presence and visceral rhythmic snap of tracks such as ‘Lost Without U’ and ‘Take His Ass Out’ that lends this collection slightly more punch. Indeed, in this case rather than narcotics the ‘crack’ in the title refers to the combination of relentlessly skittering beats and rapid-fire editing of blatant samples that sees everything from old-school reggae through to Prince and even ‘Willy Wonka’ getting fed through DJ Roc’s sonic blender. If you’re forced to choose between the two high-profile footwork / juke-centric releases dropped by Planet Mu in the last few months, ‘The Crack Capone’ is the one to grab.

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