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Friday, October 30

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Concert Thu Aug 23 2007

"Whatch'all Know About Jukin'?"

If you've caught sets by Kid Sister or Hollywood Holt or any of the other recent up-and-coming South Side hip-hop club artists, then chances are you might’ve heard the above question posed to the audience from the stage at some point. Any local culture-cognizant North Side club-rat is probably going to say "yeah" by way of response. But while the acts in question have been responsible for bringing the sound of "juke" to new audiences—slipping in something akin to juked beats under a few tracks as their sets propel into the crowd-moving home stretch—the music is still very much an exclusively South and West Side thing, as are the moves that go with it

That may change as of next Friday night when Smart Bar hosts Juke-It-Palooza, The event, its organizers hope, will give club-goers a chance to experience the music from two of the biggest names on the local juke scene.

For the unfamiliar or unsure: What, then, is "juke"? Generally speaking, juke ain't nothing but the sped-up, hard-jacking local variant of what some would broadly label "booty music." Call it "Ghetto-tech" or "gutter" or "booty bass" or whatever, a number of places have their own local equivalents and have for a long time—Detroit, Baltimore, and especially the Deep South (many, many years before it became "Dirty"). The music springs up when the other standard club fare—be it hip-hop, house, techno, or what have you—just won't cut it when it comes to getting the crowd to flex with some serious rump-rolling or fancy footwork. Long before Chicago's own contribution acquired the "juke" label and evolved into its current form, you could hear it pumping at block parties, in clubs, and from car speakers along the city's South and West sides in the early- to mid-90s.

DJ Zebo, one of the main organizers for Juke-It-Palooza, is well familiar with juke and with its first cousins (ghetto-tech, Bmore house, Southern "bass music") in locales across the country. As an indefatigable DJ, he often holds down an average of five combined residencies and guest slots on any given week, and his deep crates cut a broad swatch across many genres of dance music. Recently, his affinity for "booty"-styled club cuts has him crafting his own Bmore style tracks.

When Smart Bar's music director James Amato came to him with the idea of booking a night with South Side juke don DJ Gant-Man, Zebo immediately started working his connections to see what other DJs he could bring together. As far as the Chicago juke angle was concerned, the selection for who else to get for the show was obvious. The organizers contacted DJ Nehpets, who's been bringing juke to the airwaves via his mix sets on Power 92. "Nehpets is one of the dopest Juke DJs and producers in Chicago right now," Zebo tells me, "And I always wanted to do a show with him. His radio show is amazing and he really knows how to program and mix. Not too many people in the club scene know who he is as he doesn't play up on the North Side too often...which is exactly why I wanted to get him that exposure."

Rather than have the event be a jus'-juke saturation bombing, Zebo decided he wanted to stack the billing for a more cross-spectrum affair. Hence the addition of Detroit's DJ Godfather to the line-up, as well a bonus kick-off set from Zebo and his colleague Marco Morales. In doing so, the roster came together as a representation of the music's three current capitol cities: Chi, tha Dee, and Bmore.

As far as singling out the premier rep for Detroit's related Ghetto-tech (and "jit") scene, there were no two ways about it. "DJ Godfather is just that," he explains, "a Godfather of the Ghetto-tech sound. I chose him because of his history and dedication to the sound. People know that when they see Godfather play a show it will most definitely be a show." Bet. All one has to do is get a glimpse of DJ Godfather working the decks to see that the man is on top of his game.

Juke-It-Palooza takes place at Smart Bar on Friday, August 31. DJ Zebo and Marco Morales get it all started with a "Bmore and Booty" set, followed with sets by DJs Nehpets, Godfather, and Gant-Man. Tickets are $10 in advance, but admission is free if you get there before 11pm. Doors open at 10pm. 3730 N. Clark. Attendees are encouraged to wear appropriate footwear.

[video]: "Jit vs. Juke"

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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