DJ Roc DJ RocThe Crack Capone
Mike Paradinas wants juke. And when Mike Paradinas wants juke, you, your aunt, your cousin, the newspaper salesman on the corner, the fat bloke from the Apple store and every other living creature in their right mind wants juke too. The Planet Mu deacon is crazy for that rabid sound coming from the dancing sewers of Chicago that has rapidly caused some severe attacks of priapism among the greediest of electronic scouts. The story of this new current can be explained by the feet, quite literally. It’s there, at the base, with the young hounds of the Windy City, that the earthquake starts. The thing is called footwork, a frantic dance that, like James Worthy’s basketball at the low post, is based on a game of possessed and swaggering footwork which the swiftness, bordering on the speed of light, isn’t recommendable for tired eyes. Very young, still with their teenage acne and awkwardness, members of the footwork community needed a sound that would get them going and give meaning to their local competitions. That’s where the juke sub-scene started, a music produced by beardless people that sounds like Satan’s farts after eating a stew of gelatinous electro, crazy house, bounce music, Miami bass and all kinds of electronic appetisers with a slight taste of American lout and one goal only: to move derrières.
So, after giving us the irresistible “Da Trak Genius” by DJ Nate and some 12”s of this emerging scene, Paradinas once again delves deep into Chicago to discover this unclassifiable marvel for us and, while he’s at it, enrich the Planet Mu catalogue with more juke collectibles. His nose is that of a perfectly trained sniffer dog. And DJ Roc, previously known for his “Juke City” mixtapes, is pure -the purest- addictive like the Tex-Mex Doritos. His music leaves a strong odour on the fingers for days and no matter how many times you wash your hands, it doesn’t go away. The formula is simple, although it stands on a complex sonic chaos. Eighties-like rhythm boxes, nasty electro, violent rhythms, unpredictable percussion, bouncing bass lines and vocal samples repeated infinitely, putting the listener’s mental health to the test. With this style book, DJ Roc plays with you like a cat with it’s prey before devouring it: the tempo is erratic, changing sometimes fast and sometimes slow, the ascents and descents are constant, the percussion comes and goes. It’s a state of sweet nervousness and uncertainty that I hadn’t felt before. And the most fascinating thing is that it’s addictive. You need more.
With 20 cuts between two and three minutes each, “The Crack Capone” is a perfect showcase of the virtues of juke, a craft style that seems to be recorded with four pots and two spoons and that, in the hands of Roc, sounds grand and new; it sounds fresh like a piece of menthol super candy manufactured by NASA to contain Godzilla’s halitosis. During it’s 160 seconds, “I Don’t Like The Look Of It” illustrates the Kafkaesque use of repetition of sampled phrases as schizoid percussion. “Girl When U Dance” is minimalist bounce, electro with helium voice, psychiatric grime. “DJ Roc Symphony” is an utter masterpiece: brutal, full-on house covered with trashy electro, an epic sample pressed in our brain, metallic drumming, sick climax; bestial. Not even when he tries to look for more relaxed passages can he calm the thing down. On “Take His Ass Out”, for example, he takes a new age female voice and sticks a hammering electro beat from the ghetto under it, cancelling out any possibility of letting the ear rest. And when he gets nasty is when the bodywork of his pimped car shines the most: “Make Crack Like Dis” is pure electro-gangsta for psychiatric wards; “Fuck Dat” could be a collaboration of Geto Boys and DJ Assault; “King Of The Circle”, with the mythical sax sample Public Enemy made famous with “Show ‘Em Watcha Got” (turned into the unbearable sound of a hysterical trumpet), is another bomb that leaves the ass cheeks bruised. My body cells want more. They want it bad. They want juke. Juke, juke, juke! This hurts. The thing is, “The Crack Capone” has a pointed shape. It’s like a needle that goes from junkie to junkie. From vein to vein. From Paradinas to Roc. From capo to capone.