The footwork music of production collective Teklife feels as indelible to the concrete curves of Chicago as it is to the rapid movements of the genre’s dancers. Even as the music’s gone global, and even as Teklife’s members have steered the hyperactive sound and its percussive panache toward different electronic aesthetics, footwork tracks carry an indescribable element that’s distinct to this city. Which brings me to “Dubby,” a DJ Spinn number the Teklife leader cut with his longtime collaborator and crew cofounder, the late DJ Rashad. Spinn released the song yesterday—it’s the first single from his forthcoming EP, Off That Loud, and it’s today’s 12 O’Clock Track—and it includes an element that emanates “Detroit” more than “Chicago.” And that would be Danny Brown.
The lothario MC from the “D” raps in an idiosyncratic, nasally croak, and while Danny Brown’s voice is unique to him it also brings with it some of the character of his hometown. Anytime Brown slinks through the blight in Detroit on a song—think of the “And where I live it was house, field, field” hook for “Fields,” or the entire tune—the grain in his voice conveys more information than anything I could pick up from scanning several trend pieces about the city.
So when Brown raps “in the Chi they footwork” on “Dubby” it feels a little like worlds colliding. Well, maybe not colliding—Brown’s resilience blends well with Spinn and Rashad’s shape-shifting euphoria. These sounds and voices harmonize so well that Detroit doesn’t seem quite as far a trek as it did before. Take a peek at the video for “Dubby” below, and grab Off That Loud when it drops in October.