Last night I attended Homeroom at the Hungry Brain. The subject: Footwork 101. For those of you who don’t know, and until last night I was one of you, Footwork is a genre of music that led to the birth of a style of dance. On hand to give the history of footwork was Chicago Reader columnist Miles Rayner, whose segment was basically an audio journey through Footwoork’s musical evolution. Native to Chicago (debates ensue among South and West side as to who truly began the movement) Footwork is an offspring of House music but more directly Ghetto House which incorporates more elements of hip-hop (booty and bass). Ghetto House bred Juke and its sibling, Footwork.
Also on hand to educate the room, West Side dance champion Tee Jay “The Boss” Johnson and pioneering producer Lady So. Tee Jay is a member of the Footworkingz, a super group created by Lady So to put Footworking and Chicago on the global map. Just a kid when he first started dancing, Tee Jay’s impressive resume includes touring with Ginuine and performing with Footworkingz here.
The most fascinating and inspiring thing I learned from Tee Jay: Footwork’s very first origins in the early 80’s came out of gang members as an alternative outlet for aggression. Instead of taking to the streets to brawl they went head to head in dance battles. Make Hip-Hop not War!
The music itself is still very localized and many argue that it lacks mainstream appeal. Like we care. Raymer shared a new track Luuk Out Gurl by Chicago artist Josh Young of Flosstradamus and co-starring female MC Kid Sister. This isht is bangin’ and while it may not make it to the airwaves I would get down on this in the club.
Many thanks to the amazing people in Homeroom for putting this on.
Buy the Footworkingz DVD “Take Flight” here.