Footwork is both a style of street dance and sub-genre that evolved from ghetto house in Chicago in the 90s. Footwork dancing is characterized by fast feet movements, twists and turns, and usually takes place in the context of a "battle" at a club. So, why am I making this list about footwork and productivity? Who writes their essays to club music? Well, I do, and I think you could too!
My first introduction to footwork music was through the artist DJ Paypal
. I wanted to listen to everything he had on Spotify, but I also had to write an essay, so I decided I could multitask. I discovered, though, that somehow DJ Paypal's music made me feel really good about writing my essay, and really productive. I personally think it's the fast tempos and urgent rhythms - not only do they inspire fast footwork, but they also inspire fast thinking and acting in general. The non-stop feeling of a footwork song can definitely make you feel unstoppable. Here are 8 songs to start you off the next time you need to get something done and stop procrastinating:
1. DJ Earl - "Enlightenment"
The melodic themes that come up throughout this song really do sound enlightening, as the title suggests. You can really feel the juices starting to flow listening to this song, whether you're on the dance floor or sitting in front of your computer.
2. DJ Paypal - "Why"
"Why" is the first track off of DJ Paypal's 2012 EP of the same title. As the beginning of the song builds, you can feel your own energy building too. Although there is a bit of a vocal, I never really find it too distracting. The pitch shift makes it easier to not focus on the words, which can be important if you're trying to write.
3. NameBrandSound - "Hip Thruster"
This one is especially hard-hitting and high energy. The high-hats are relentless (just like you!) and the lower-pitched vocal sample will provide you with all the breaks you need as you power through your project or workout.
4. Jlin - "Hateshepsut"
Jlin is a newer footwork artist who seems to be getting a lot of attention for her work now. Her music has been described as avant-garde and reinventing the genre of footwork. In both this song and her most recent album which this song comes from, Black Origami
, Jlin's production combines the chaotic, energized rhythms typical to footwork with her own style that is more sparse and spacious.
5. Distal - "Flowers"
The chillness of the synth melody in this song is kind of reminiscent of those "chill study music" videos that are actually made for this specific purpose, but of course it still uses that frenetic rhythmic style of footwork music. With this particular combination of relaxing melody and hyped up rhythm, you'll be sure to finish that paper in no time!
6. Taso, DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn - "New Start"
Taso, DJ Rashad, and DJ Spinn are/were all a part of the footwork crew and label Teklife. DJ Rashad was actually one of the founders of Teklife and a pioneer in footwork and, tragically, died unexpectedly from a drug overdose in 2014. Nevertheless, "New Start" is a great example of footwork, made by some of the very people who had a big part in defining the genre. Let "New Start" be a new start for you as you turn over a new leaf and finally stop procrastinating.
7. DJ Rashad, Tripletrain, DJ Spinn - "Pass That"
Personally, I love the fact that the effects on the vocal samples are a little unsettling. You always want to be reasonably comfortable, but not too
comfortable while you're really trying to work and get things done. This song will help you stay right on that line where you can be most productive.
8. DJ Paypal - "You Got Me"
The drums at the beginning of this song really capture the whole "non-stop" vibe I was talking about before. And of course, I had to add another DJ Paypal song to the list - after all, his was the first footwork music I actually listened to. I find that a lot of DJ Paypal's music, including this song, is on the catchier side. The vocal sample, from The S.O.S. Band's "High Hopes," is one of the elements that really makes the song memorable and catchy. Hopefully, the fast and frantic rhythms along with the nostalgic melodies will make this the perfect song to listen to as you finish up that project you've been putting off.