Available on: Planet Mu LP

DJ Roc is a veteran of the Chicago juke scene that you’ve presumably heard tons about recently. If you haven’t, you can easily google it.

The Crack Capone is his first full album with a worldwide release, via Planet Mu. It’s the second juke long-player that Mu have put out, after DJ Nate’s, and the two make for an interesting contrast. There are plenty of similarities between them, the most obvious (ignoring structural ones like drums and tempo) being the way they pull from every part of mainstream pop culture. At times, Roc shares Nate’s trait of twisting these samples to breaking point, but he’s usually content to wind them into comfortable loops and let them roll.

Nate’s a youngster compared to Roc, and perhaps that’s key to the difference between their music. Roc’s rugged beats operate in the middle ground between hip-hop and dance music while staying composed and not giving much away. They’re not always subtle (‘One Blood’ is one of the most in-your-face opening tracks you’ll hear all year, and elsewhere on the album you’ll find wholesale samples of Robin Thicke tracks and the Twilight Zone theme), but they’re well made and nice on the ear. Nate’s, in contrast, are like a ghoulish pop music, abrasive and crying out. They’re almost uncomfortably open at times.

Roc’s album is definitely less notable than Nate’s, but given time it’s just as rewarding, if not more. Nate’s tracks lay everything on the table from the off, which is part of their charm, but you’ll still be noticing new things about The Crack Capone next year, and potential juke fans scared off by the sharp eccentricity of the Nate album shouldn’t shy away from it.

Tom Lea



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