The TEKxTAR series unites the Los Angeles digital label with Chicago’s juke masters in the TEK Life collective. Past contributors include DJ Taye, DJ Earl, and Heavee, which gave it an emphasis on the younger generation of juke. For the fifth edition, a figure responsible for pioneering the genre, as well as many incarnations of Chicago house that led to juke/footwork, is offering his take on the three-song cycle EP series.
Even with two albums dedicated to the mind of Traxman, it still feels as though we are light years from comprehending this innovator’s body of work. He’s been an integral purveyor of Chicago’s ghetto house, inventing techniques that would lead to the development of juke/footwork. For his contribution to the TEKxTAR series though, he’s styling in an effortless manner. It’s an instinctual selection of tracks that illustrates the repertoire of tricks he’s refined in the course of two decades.
“Thay Act Like They Don’t Know” feels like an instant classic with its jazz samba set to the repetitious trash talk of Dip SET samples. As for “Da Rebel” it condenses all the critical elements of Public Enemy’s “Rebel Without A Pause” into a break heavy exercise of streamlined juke. It’s quite possibly juke/footwork’s most endearing quality, in that it dares slice hip hop breaks into thinner slices at no consequence to the flavor. Traxman brings chef’s precision to chopping breaks down further, so finite that closer “Dilla” assumedly homage’s the departed James Yancey, but the samples are reduced to such percussive blips is almost impossible to tell.
You can download Traxman’s TEKxTAR Vol. 5EP here.