Exclaim!'s Staff Picks: RP Boo Pushes Footwork to Its Limits on 'Legacy Volume 2'

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished May 25, 2023

The legacy of footwork music begins with RP Boo, who released what is widely considered the style's first-ever track in 1997 with "Baby Come On." Elements of this song — the looping vocal stab, further sample splicing and active drum patterns — have proven foundational to the development of footwork as tempos quickened and compositional horizons expanded, leading the music from its Chicago club beginnings to dance communities around the globe.
With Legacy Volume 2, a sequel to the producer's acclaimed 2013 compilation, listeners bear witness to continued stylistic development with 13 tracks collected from between 2002 and 2007, hearing the originator punch sampler and drum machine pads to push the limits of what footwork could be. At times, it's an exercise in extremes: foreboding opener "Eraser" prioritizes minimalism, its percussion light and sub kick barely audible as ominous vocal samples lead the way, while the dramatic string figure and unrelenting percussion of "Say Grace" make for a monumental dance-off soundtrack. As a vocal sample taunts, "That's what it's gon' be if you battle me."
Some of the most memorable footwork tracks also boast a humorous streak, and it's apparent here in the repetition of a song like "Pop Machine," playing out like an internal monologue of someone who had their coins eaten by the snack vendor — the very scenario that inspired its creation. With "Porno," it's all in the title, as RP Boo twists expressions of pleasure around a minimal drum pattern.
Even without the visual of footwork dancers moving in time with the music, there are moments of Legacy Volume 2 where RP Boo's rhythmic and melodic aptitude alone proves transcendent. "Under'D-Stat" clips an urgent bit of the Underdog theme before a snippet of strings and piano raise the stakes to heroic heights, while closer "Last Night" downshifts its sample from chipmunk soul to a invigorating groove, punctuated by vocals reminding you whose legacy you're here to celebrate.

(Planet Mu)

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