In the last couple years, DJ Rashad and the TEKLIFE crew have put footwork so forcefully on the map that it’s easy to forget just how many artists on Planet Mu’s Bangs & Works comps weren’t from that crew. Which is also to say: many of the footwork tracks a lot of us initially fell in love with back on those first two comps were produced by lesser-heard artists, many of whom haven’t been as visible (or at all) since the Ghettoteknitianz took the spotlight. Of course, respect was due to footwork’s progenitors, so it made sense, but Rashad has been swimming in international waters lately, and since a lot of the more paranoid, schizophrenic Chicago-based music was brushed aside by The Great Teklife Upswing, often the way to hear the weirder strands of footwork was to look to other countries (namely Japan, with the likes of Paisley Parks, Foodman, and Satanicpornocultshop).
But producer EQ Why has been going strong throughout. Former member of the now-defunct all-star crew Bosses of the Circle (which boasted DJ Roc, DJ Diamond, Young Smoke, Jlin, etc.), EQ Why first made his presence widely known with a few tracks on the second Mu comp as DJ T-Why — including this hot number — and now, after releasing on labels like Moveltraxx, Booty Call Records, and Duck N Cover, he’s back with another album, The Dynamic Time, an 18-track footwork monster that comes from the school of RP Boo minimalism and DJ Roc suspense, with several juke- and ghetto house-flavored tracks.
“Grind” is an exemplary cut: rhythmically tense with the barest of elements; sub-bass tempering the violent, chaotic Morse code-like synth; complexity more befitting of an underground footwork circle than a fashionable European dance club — more dirt, less sheen; mood over matter. It’s one of the rawest footwork tracks of the year, a reminder that, while the TEKLIFE crew is making the headlines, there are plenty of gems if you dig beneath the footwork mainstream.