RP Boo - I'll Tell You What
I'll Tell You What
Footwork has a direct line to the House and Techno from the Great Lakes area. It is almost completely an American invention and while it draws influence from those genres it really is something in and of itself. spare use of space and time, with a constant click holding the beat down...or not. RP Boo is a pioneer in the genre, blazing it's earliest tracks and setting the tone for future artists like Jlin to come in and expand the genre. "At War" loops RP Boo's vocal saying the title of the song over and over, chopped up and scratched. The beat barely exists, just drum clicks while RP Boo's vocal warbles through the speakers. Writing all this, as is the case often when I write about footwork, it sounds kinda awful. When you listen to Footwork you have to be prepared to be put off, for beats not to line up and for sounds to seemingly appear and disappear out of no where. I'll Tell You What is not about building to a tension, it's tense from the first moment it comes on. The spares heavily electronic drums make you feel uneasy from the first moment. Even "Cloudy Back Yard" which begins with this soulful vocal descends into utter darkness and fog as the song skitters towards it's conclusion. Footwork goes places that a lot of "dance" music is afraid to go. Not everything has to be bright and not everything has to fit in a perfect little box.
The same can be said for "U Don't No" which opens with a nice repeated piano loop that allows some space for the skittery drums to come surging in, eventually giving way to RP Boo's vocal in an almost slam poetry style delivery. Hearing words in footwork songs that aren't just punctuation is strange but this song in particular somehow becomes sweet. He finds an almost Kanye beat in "Earth's Little Dance" adding this whiff of hip hop that really elevates the tracks. RP Boo is not afraid to genre jump and pull in whatever may be needed to take a track to another level. Nothing on this album feels easy, it does not just flow from RP Boo. You can tell that these tracks are refined and refined until they are a razors edge. The timing is too important and too perfect for that not to be the case. Every time RP Boo brings in a loop, it's just perfectly timed, a skill that not everyone working in this genre has. The only problem with this album is that it's just too long. By the 40 minute mark you have been so overloaded with interesting new things that the fatigue is very real. Yet it remains a really diverse and unique record. Strap in if you dare, but be warned there are some strange sounds ahead of you.
8.0 out of 10