DJ Earl is one of Chicago's premier footwork producers, an understudy of the late, great and legendary DJ Rashad who has emerged with a fast, soulful style all his own and a relentless work rate that would surely make his mentor proud.
His latest album, the nine-track 'Bass + Funk & Soul', only weighs in at 24 minutes but it packs more hype moments, insane samples and innovative production techniques in than the average dance music album manages to do. Earl's got it down – all killer, no filler.
The tightly-packed album moves through many of footwork's moods, from acid-tinged grit to bass-heavy minimalism and from sun-splashed soul workouts to hard ghetto house-influenced booty tracks. Everything's red hot, a reminder that footwork, now an international phenomenon, was born from rapid dance battles in Chicago halls.
DJ Earl's come through and picked his five favourite footwork dancers for us so take a look at the crew below and see if your feet can keep up...
King Frost is an ever adapting creative. I like his style because he’s all about structure variety and clarity. He seems to move with the music rather than to it. Probably the top dancer in the Chicago Footwork culture in my opinion.
Steelo is a rapid, animated type of footworker. He moves with a lot of passion, you can tell by how smooth all of his transitions are. Big storyteller like Frost in the circle – number two in the culture to me.
Lil Bit is a really unique type of footworker hailing from the Creation crew; she’s all about mastery of the basics and moving with the music. Animated like Steelo, she always has some really exciting moves in her rounds.
Murda Mommy is the raw and aggressive type, definitely an unpredictable type of footworker, she’s sure to always match your energy in battle. Very high energy.
Acey is a leader of the new school, a student of a few of the (what I would call) living legends of the culture. I like the way Acey moves because it's really precise, somewhat like Steelo but opposite energy: very aggressive and animated. Acey is also one of the dancers who can dance really long rounds. The way he moves it's apparent he’s most definitely in control of every move he’s doing.
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