Treated Crew and Teklife further DJ Rashad’s legacy on Live From Your Mama’s House
Yesterday hip-hop collective Treated Crew and footwork outfit Teklife released Live From Your Mama’s House, a collaborative EP helmed by Treated Crew rapper Mic Terror. The MC got the idea for the collaboration after his collective performed with the late Teklife leader DJ Rashad during a Pitchfork Music Festival set in 2013. “I was sitting there listenin’ to Rashad’s whole set, and I was listenin’ to it like how he was flippin’ ‘C.R.E.A.M.,‘” Mic Terror says. “It was like juke and still hip-hop. Then I was freestyling in my head to a lot of stuff, and I was like, ‘Man, that’s so dope.'”
After the Pitchfork set Mic Terror approached DJ Rashad with the idea of a collaborative project, and they slowly set the ball in motion. “It was like piecing it together here and there cause we was both workin’ on different things in other places and areas,” Mic Terror said. Their different projects came out in the proceeding months: DJ Rashad dropped his fantastic Double Cup in October 2013, and Mic Terror released his debut album, Fresh Prince of Darkness, in January 2014. DJ Rashad died a few months later, on Saturday, April 26, of an accidental drug overdose. “I still wanted to finish it ’cause we had some joints already and I was like, ‘Man, we need to finish this,'” Mic Terror says.
What started as a collaboration featuring Mic Terror, DJ Rashad, and DJ Spinn grew into a joint-crew project. Teklife’s DJ Phil, Taso, DJ Taye, and Heavee handled most of the production, with Treated Crew leader Mano putting in beat-making work on two of the tracks; Mano also raps along with Treated Crew MCs Gzus Piece and Sulaiman (vocalist Drea Smith also shows up on a track). The end result is a blend of hip-hop and footwork, one made in tribute to Rashad’s contribution to music and with the hope of furthering it.
The connection between Treated Crew and Teklife goes further back than this EP—much further back. Mic Terror grew up in south suburban Riverdale—which is just northeast of Mano in Dixmoor and DJ Spinn in Markham—and northwest of DJ Rashad in Calumet City. At the time Spinn and Rashad were already working the party circuit: “They were like celebrities when we were in junior high,” Mic Terror says. “There’d be flyers and you’d always see ‘DJ Rashad, RP Boo, Spinn, Gant-Man. And that was like, the juke parties at the time, and we knew them from there.” Mic Terror says around the time Mano was 14 he started producing juke tracks and, “he kind of became Rashad’s protege.”
Mic Terror and his friends would go to juke parties at Markham Roller Rink and at neighborhood house parties—the EP’s title, Live From Your Mama’s House is a reference to those basement parties where Mic Terror witnessed house evolve into juke and footwork. “My thing with the juke parties was really about dry humping girls, cause that’s juking too,” he says. “I was trying to count how many girls I could dry hump. I was like, ‘Yeah, OK, I dry humped with like five girls tonight, that’s pretty good!'”
When it came to making music Mic Terror gravitated towards hip-hop. In junior high he and a group of friends formed a collective called the Phedz, a precursor to Treated Crew. Though Mic Terror rapped—accumulating an early fanbase through YouTube drops in the late aughts—house, juke, and footwork crept into his music. Mic Terror blended hip-hop and pop-leaning dance on “Juke Dem Hoes,” a cut from Mic Terror’s 2008 mixtape, The Terror Dome Vol. 2. He delivers tight, raunchy lines that recall the chants producers drop into juke, footwork, and ghetto-house tracks; Mic Terror also gives a healthy shout-out to Cajmere’s “Percolator.”
Mic Terror continued bringing dance music into his hip-hop tracks throughout the years. With Fresh Prince of Darkness he roped in Gant-Man, one of the producers credited with creating juke, to coproduce a cut called “Get Off My Dick,” and Gant-Man’s thumbprint is all over the track once it hits hyperspeed. “You could trace this project [Live From Your Mama’s House] back to that song,” Mic Terror says.
For Live From Your Mama’s House Mic Terror wrote at a relaxed pace, soaking in a range of tracks he received and drawing lyrical inspiration from the footwork greats he’s worked with. “I always liked Spinn—I like his hooks,” Mic Terror says. “Like those chants—like, Gant-Man, he has dope chants too, like, ‘Hit it from the back, hit it from the back.’ I just wanted to take some of those flows and kind of expand on ’em and just make ’em more complex.” The end result captures Mic Terror’s ideal: he harnesses the blunt, lively bounce of the footwork and juke chants that inspired him, heightening the euphoric repetition of the best of those hooks while drawing out his rapping into dense verses.
Mic Terror is a rapper by trade, but house music—and to the same extent juke and footwork—are in his blood. “Being a Chicagoan you have a certain attachment to house ’cause this is the home of house and you can’t escape it—it’s still in all the clubs, it’s still on the radio,” he says. “That’s all we were listening to at those parties at that time, so I’m not sure how broad it was then, but it seemed like the whole world was probably just like us in the basement.”
Stream Live From Your Mama’s House here.
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