DJ Nate – Hatas Our Motivation review
Look up ‘footwork’ in the dictionary and you may not have much luck. But a quick Google search sends you straight to the heart of Chicago’s dancefloors, via Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu imprint, a series of home made YouTube video clips to Nate, a 20 year old Chicago Juke pioneer, hailing from Westside Chicago, who has been causing a bit of ruckus across the web recently. In anticipation for his debut long player, Da Trak Genious (soon to be released on Mu), the Hatas Our Motivation EP draws together elements of twisted up R&B, strutting hip-hop and the aforementioned juke, with syncopated 4/4 rhythms, quirky edits and a stylish panache which belies his years.
This makes it all sound rather like a walk in the park. It’s not. Petulantly inaccessible at times, this is not a sound to everyone’s tastes. Nate may be championed as being the first to bring the sound to a global audience, but it remains rather niche. Kicking things off with “Hatas Our Motivation”, Nate introduces us to the first key tool in his footwork box – the use of repeated sampled vocals. The immediate effect is that of a record stuck. Of course, what soon unfolds is that these are used to create a dialogue between sample and ‘sound’, like a confrontational jousting session. Sombre horns are merely hinted at, a rumbling engine-like b-line purrs beneath confused rhythms, struggling to hold their head above water as they are drowned out by words.
In a similar fashion, “Ima Burn Him” sees soothing atmospherics and cooing female vox (a bit like George FitzGerald gone wrong) challenged by the virulent chanting “Ima burn…” sample. Then we have the urban drawl of “Make Em Run”, followed by the haunting “We Can Work This Out”, featuring a pitched up looped vocal like a child crying (similar to that of DJ Fresh’s “Fight”, in fact). There’s a pervasive sense of stagnation – something that the cursed repetition creates – as the cry stubbornly refuses to progress, trapped within its own musical fabric. Hip-hop tinged “Back Down” is on a more lyrical vibe, before the extraordinary Evanescence sampling finale, “See Into My Eyes” draws the EP to a dramatic close. Abstract but awesome.