DJ Rashad
DJ Rashad Credit: Courtesy Sun-Times Media archives

DJ Rashad was on course to guide footwork music to a crossover breakthrough when he died in April at age 34; he’d performed in Europe, opened for Chance the Rapper on his U.S. tour last fall, and played at many high-profile festivals, including Pitchfork in July. On last year’s Double Cup, Rashad pushed footwork toward pop while retaining its eccentric, fluttering beats, hyperactive pace, and strange internal tension among syncopated layers. Spinn, a leader in Rashad’s Teklife crew, worked on many of Double Cup‘s best tracks, including the most accessible one, the mesmerizing “Let U No”—its sensual R&B vocal sample glides atop flickering, weightless synths as spasming, chattering drums charge past. “Let U No” is definitely a footwork track—I can imagine it soundtracking a dance battle in Chatham—but would also fit between Top 40 tracks at a Viagra Triangle nightclub.