Album Review: DJ Rashad - Afterlife
By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor
Key Tracks: “Roll Up That Loud,” “Let’s Roll Out,” “Ratchet City”
The 2014 death of DJ Rashad was a huge tragedy for the entire footwork/juke genre. The 34-year-old pioneer of Chicago’s footwork scene made several juke anthems during his lifetime including “Pass That Shit” and “Feelin,” which have been essential to the Teklife crew and the entirety of juke music. Since his death two years ago, we’ve seen countless tributes to the late footwork ambassador, including DJ Spinn’s Pitchfork Music Festival set (which Rashad was supposed to play until his sudden death).
Afterlife, the first posthumous record of Rashad's, is a 14-track compilation of unreleased collaborations between him and other members of Teklife, including Spinn, DJ Earl, DJ Taye and DJ Manny. While many posthumous records feel like less of a tribute to the person’s life and more of a way to make a quick buck (like the albums made after the deaths of Michael Jackson and 2Pac), Afterlife couldn’t be a more perfect release to remember to such a legend of the juke community.
Afterlife is filled with bass heavy songs like “Roll Up That Loud” and “Ratchet City” that act as the essential soundtrack for the perfect workout routine or night out at your favorite nightclub. These songs are incredibly fast and energetic, making them very hard to not move to. There are also songs like “Roll a Tree” and “Let’s Roll Out” that master the use of vocal sampling and really know how to capture the overall feel of the footwork genre through tight percussion, repetition and nostalgic synths and melodies.
While songs like “Oh God” and “Tony Montana” feel unfinished compared to the rest of the album, they never feel underwhelming or worn down. The unfinished feel to these tracks actually show how much care was put into this posthumous record by leaving the track as is instead of finishing it without Rashad, which would make the track feel less authentic.
Afterlife is an incredible posthumous compilation that not only shows off DJ Rashad’s talents, but also his influence on the footwork genre through each song’s samples and instrumentation. It’s constantly energetic and exciting, with every song capturing the sound DJ Rashad helped bring into the style of juke music.