Like Fucking Mozart: An Interview with RP Boo

Those syncopated toms that you’ve been listening to on Youtube originally came from one man and his display model drum machine. If you don’t believe it ask him to show you his trophy. RP Boo shook the streets of Chicago and his vibrations can still be felt sometimes thousands of miles away. Our discussion proved that he might have planned it all along, and while little credit is given to the man outside of the community he gave many people’s feet a new pattern to follow for years to come. The championed “creator of footwork music” took time to tell us his tale while we hung out on the shores of Rainbow Beach, the historic site of 1961′s Freedom Wade-In. Showing no signs of stopping, he’s hoping to go down in history “like fucking Mozart”, yet humbleness outshines his brazenness unless you toy with his piece of mind. This one is essential for anyone the least bit interested in the infamous local Chicago culture.

Me: So How did you start making tracks?

RP: I never thought I would get into it…and one day one of my guys Ronnie Sloan, the originator of House – O – Matics I’d say in 93, 94, he took me to a certain person’s house and I actually saw a track being made. I was just a DJ back then, I was just good at what I was doing so one day I was like fuck it I’m gonna try something.

What kind of equipment were you working with back then?

Back then in 95, 96, I was working with a Roland R-70 and an Akai SO1 and today it’s 2010 and I still got them and I still use them.

What were you making at this time?

The tracks back then didn’t have a name for it…it was just considered local artist’s music….and it never had a name back then. But years later it was introduced as juke but it was just more of a saying of what the dancing or what the atmosphere of the party was like.

Were you dancing at this point?

I had stopped. I used to dance, and I was making music at the same time. I was given an option of ether “you’re gonna dance” or “you’re gonna spin” and I was more into music anyways so I took the side of music and stopped dancing. Music was my first love anyways.  The question came from the president of House-O-Matics back then, which is Ronnie Sloan and still is Ronnie Sloan.

So how did you get into house music?

Very easy and simple, my old man is a bass player. I never thought I would have got into being a musician, but I got his blood in me. It’s all about the bass and the rhythm, and that’s what did it. And as disco evolved, I always kept my ears on disco, and I always liked the rhythm because that was my piece of mind. It wasn’t what was going on outside, it was music that was always my piece of mind to where I never even told too many people about it. My mom didn’t even know about that! I still love music today because music is an art, and most people don’t know the art in it.

Were you seeing a lot of early house DJs growing up?

Actually no! No, I was hearing about them but never met them. No shows ether because basically I was trying to go to them, but I had a strict mom. My mom was more protective and wouldn’t let me go out and was more about the education. I can’t go to the shows, so what do I do? I would sit back, kick it with my Aunts and Uncles in 82, listen to some mother fucking WBMX 102.7, and the rest was history.

What sounds music or otherwise were you interested in growing up?

The non-music sounds are the beginning sources, and that’s what creates rhythm. But when it comes to what I was growing up with, my Aunt and Uncle basically had no color barrier. It was rock, country, western, and I didn’t discriminate because it was something to keep me occupied and that’s what I was surrounded by.

What were some of the records?

Man…Led Zeppelin, Charley Pride, Doobie Brothers, Ohio Players, Quincy Jones. At the same time I didn’t know these were people I would end up looking up to, but I just really loved music.

How did that music translate to what you were doing?

Those were basically songs that I was hearing as I was growing up that I always kept in my brain. So as I got around to do tracks and hear how rhythm worked, I would hear certain tracks that people like Deeon, Milton, and Traxman were doing, and I was thinking about these beats that they were doing. I was combining them with the old stuff, not knowing that time stretching would be caught in between. So I just got stuck, and I was an adventurer. I still am an adventurer, I will try anything.

How did you get into making music that is derived from house music?

I can say so much, but you would actually have to see it to believe it. I was the type of person where I didn’t know how to work the R-70. I thought I did, it was just a tool. So one day I started making some music, the music sounded kind of hot, but there was something missing. And what was missing was how to take it and patent it, and move it to another sequence from patent 1 to patent 2. I actually learned how to just memorize it. Then Deeon was the one who taught me how to take it and copy it to the next one. There is one thing I can say in this interview…all I got to say is, a lot of people used to come to guitar center when it was on 81st and Cicero. My actual R-70 was a display model. When I bought it, it was the last one there, I didn’t buy it new, I bought it used. So a lot of people in the world already programmed those sounds. You never knew who touched that R-70….but to the time I’d like to thank y’all for putting your work in…but you just couldn’t do what I did!

When did you start meeting other DJs?

(DJ)Rashad came to a party one night, and I was spinning for House-O-Matics. This one cat came up to me like “can I get on?”, and I was like who the fuck are you? I was saying “who the fuck are you?” to this kid all night, and it was Rashad! My thing was, I didn’t know this cat, and the party was getting hectic so I was like fuck him. But at the time Rashad was making tracks that I wasn’t. So about 7 or 8 months later me and Rashad re-uped at Cavallini’s out in the burbs. It was promoted by Ronnie Sloan, Malcolm Walls, and Juan Frazier from House Arrest 2. I got there kind of late, the party was kind of packed, and Rashad and Spinn were spinning. I get on, I was only able to play like 3 tracks. Kids were looking at me like “who the fuck is dude?’. All I got was “next week you better bring your ass here early”. The next following week….

(interrupted by a cop asking us if we’ve seen a man talking about trying to kill himself wandering around on the beach)

It was the 2nd friday night that I was told to bring my ass to the party on time so I could spin. What happened was I spun, and at the end of the night we had a meeting. And at the meeting they were like “hey man, we ain’t got time to be hearing all this boogety boogety shit all mother fucking night”. So I’m looking at my man like “who the fuck are you?” You didn’t hire me somebody else did! So he was looking at me like “who are you?” and I was looking at him like “who are you?” It wasn’t RP Boo back then it was DJ Boo. The 3rd friday I came back, and the rest was history. I continued to do my thing, and the same person that was like “what’s with all this boogety boogety shit”, Rashad, was like “who is dude?” (laughs). I said why did you say that? he said “man because you wrecked that party!”. I wrecked that mother fucker. Who else was at that party that night? DJ Thaz was there, Spinn and Rashad was there, Clent was somewhere else, Chip was somewhere else with a phony ponytail on his head. I don’t know what the fuck was up with that, and on the dance floor there was no such thing as Terror Squad, no Heat Squad, none of that. It was basically dance groups like U Phi U, House-o-Matics and House Arrest 2. At that time on the footwork side of things, it was the Dungeon, and Gutter Thugs.

Neema: What about Wolf Pack?

There was no such thing as Wolf Pack back then. Wolf Pack didn’t come along until after the last season of the Dalton Expo, when the parties started getting watered down. And a lot of the reason the parties started to get watered down is because everybody started getting older and thinking they were getting more mature, and like the song says “we don’t dance no more all we do is juke”, that’s what started killing the parties.

When did that saying come about?

Man I couldn’t tell you exactly when, and I wasn’t really paying attention, but a lot of people just felt to where it was all about going to a party and using your dick to try to get some ass. And that shit still didn’t work because how I feel about going to a party, your dancing all night long and your bumping and grinding, she going home with a wet pussy, and your going home with sore nuts.

RP Boo – Baby Come On


What happened around the time tracks like Baby Come On came to be?

How Baby Come On came across…everything I planned to do was already throught of 2-3 years prior before I ever started making it. So basically I had heard an idea of it….and when I decided to start making the track, I put what I heard from somebody doing it live and compressed my thoughts into dealing with electronics. Basically Baby Come On came from a mix that was on B92 when they were playing Fantasy (Mariah Carey & Old Dirty Bastard) live, and whoever was spinning was just doing it rampage style and was going “baby come on, baby come on, baby come on…” So I said, that sounds kind of nice! Three years later I actually did the track, and it came out better than I thought, and the rest was history. Those ideas were ideas that were waiting to come out. Once I had the equipment and the sources to do it, that’s when it all came across. Eventually I would come across a record. How I came across Godzilla, I was at a record pool, where people pay money and every month they come pick up vinyl. That’s when Pharoah Monch came out with Simon Says. So when I played the regular version I was like “oh wow! thats Godzilla!” Because I like sounds, and I always was a Godzilla fan. And I prayed and hoped that there was an instrumental, and there was and the rest was history.

RP Boo – Ice Cream


The Ice Cream track, that was something that when I got the ice cream samples, I just went to work on it. Basically those tracks like Baby Come On and Ice Cream were just concepts. Those actually are concept tracks. They were just something I started to work with, but never finished. I just left them as is because I didn’t have anybody to participate with me. Baby Come On actually had a female in it. The Ice Cream track was just to see how they would go with the crowd, but they were never really finished.

Neema: Who was the little kid on Ice Cream?

It was this girl named Brittany who used to stay next door to me. It was all about how you have kids teasing another child and they’re going “I got some ice cream and you can’t have none!”, and what you tell the ice cream truck going by, “yo hold that truck!” and that was it. Man there are tracks that people wish they could have heard, and we need to set it up so we have a show sometime right when the seasons start changing and it gets cold outside, sometime around Christmas or Thanksgiving and I will play those tracks and I guarantee mother fuckers will fall out.

What, you have Christmas tracks?

Oh yeah I got Christmas tracks! Oh my god. Courtesy of my man James Brown, the soul man.

What do you think about sampling in the music you make?

I don’t have much of a thrive for it, because a lot of people destroyed it. Listen here, to me a lot of people out here did not even know how to fucking sample. So I’m gonna put it like this, I’m gonna keep sampling alive, even if I have to go into my archives and my shelves, and my old tracks. I’m gonna say to the people in the music industry that are even doing fucking raps, that includes Kayne, Dre, and a lot of other people that I admire….the shit that I was doing back then, ya’ll still can’t fuck with it! That’s guaranteed. Because if I have to explain it to you or show it to you in one wop, your gonna say “this man did something that nobody else can do”. I’m not gonna tell you what it leads to. And why would you sample something when you don’t know what the fuck your sampling?! See all this shit that they are doing now, all this Mickey Mouse shit and whatever…this is why Auto Tuners are in their best days now. Fuck an Auto Tune! If you need to go to Auto Tuners to make yourself be heard, come on dude! Like Jay said you ain’t really no artist. And stop fooling these people, if you would become an artist maybe you will get a better sound. But at the same time only stupid mother fuckers will buy your shit because everything you do with your ears, eyes, touch, feel, smell, and whatever else in your brain, that’s fucking science. Who the fuck y’all fooling? Nothing else to talk about on that, holler.

Neema: Talk about Kayne west.

Kayne West? I still got a picture of Kayne before he even had his accident. While I’m sitting on Rainbow Beach with my mans right now, before when we were coming down South Shore, we passed his house where he used to stay at. When we go back, I’m gonna show it to you. Kayne West, I like him, but from what I hear, his style comes from listening to old tapes back in the day. He used to be around House Arrest 2, I know those cats. Just like in the Through the Wire video, there were two cats in the video that I know. One of them is actually dead right now who was X Man, and X Man was a damn good creative dancer. Him and Curtis. So all the time word got back that Kayne West knows something of me, but I didn’t know it. I was like how the fuck you figure that, they would say “well we used to bring him tapes”. He studied the style. Basically I would say he studied the style but he didn’t copy me, I just gave him a source of reality. The man was fucking smart! I’m not gonna knock his hustle because it’s nothing to knock! He was just fucking smart. It’s a style of Chicago and that’s all it is. If you can feed off one, you run with it. If you can patent it, OK cool! I have no business about it. But when it comes time to it we still have different styles, and if I went into the rap business I could take a sample, and fuck him off the first one! But what is it? I’m not here to compete. I’m here to let it be known and share what it is. Honestly I don’t give a fuck about the fame, because what I’m looking for is basically going to outlive me, and I want to grow as old as I can get. A lot of people don’t understand that the best goal in life is playing something that’s going to outlive you and the next generation to come. If you can’t figure that out and your living for the now times, and you are willing to sacrifice some shit for nothing, come on man, everybody got to die. And other than that, Kayne West, and the rest of these guys out here I’m gonna keep on supporting y’all. A lot of people don’t understand that a lot of this shit with these rappers out here is straight nonsense, but hey, you can’t knock the hustle.

Your style of production is what influenced footwork as a genre of music to become, what do you feel about what has happened since then?

I’m gonna tell you how it kept going since then, something that Rashad can speak on too. Me and Rashad have always been cool but a lot of guys get us mixed up. I’m more of an originator when it came to samples. Rashad is the type of person to where I can come up with an idea and he can feed off of it. He can take an idea and turn it into a different version. He’s like a grimy version of what I am. I’ve been quiet for two years, and a lot of these cats out here right now are hungry, they are fucking hungry because they are waiting to see what I’m gonna do. Every time I do something that’s what they feed off of. They’re like pilot fishes, the pilot fishes are the ones that follow the shark and eat up his leftovers. But I got something for a lot of these DJs coming out, that shit is over with. It’s about to be over with for a purpose. And If you wanna do this, come work for me! That’s all I’m gonna tell you, you’ll get paid! Hell yeah. That’s what a fucking executive is for. At the same time now, the music industry dealing with footwork music hasn’t heard shit yet compared to what I’m gonna release. Because ain’t shit new, the only thing that’s new that came out and I got the proof of it is they gave me the trophy for creator of footwork music. I wasn’t expecting that, but I got it.

What was the inspiration for that drum pattern?

That was just off the top of my dome. A lot of my stuff that I do is basically being recorded live, I have no thought about it. Certain tracks that came out like That’s What the Speakers Are For, that was actually planned. But anything else, I normally could produce a track like that in a matter of minutes.

What do you think about the influence this music has had on artists outside of Chicago in places like Europe?

Shit, from what I’ve been hearing, the cats over in Europe and the other outsiders, those are the people that appreciate the fucking music!  Those are people with open minds and open brains! Those are normal people! The United States is so fucked up, they don’t even know what the fuck they wanna do! Anywhere outside of the United States, and third world countries and whatever else, that’s one love. That’s the beginning of time. Those are people that understand and have an open brain. They see no color. When you see no color, you see more shit than what’s in the frame. Oh my god, those are gonna be the ones that get the good heat! And I’m gonna come over and present it to you.

So what’s next?

The final chapter, the new beginning, I’m going down like fucking Mozart, and Michael Jackson, to where you can’t do nothing but accept it. The only way you could not except it is if you don’t have ears to hear, or if your a fucking mannequin, that’s it. Other than that, I want you to hear it, you have to hear it, because if I’m listening to everybody’s music, you have to listen to mine. If you don’t want to listen to it, you just can’t except what came before your time. There are days when I would go to parties and I would be spinning, and you could hear the message coming through and you’d be like “damn, that’s RP spinning!”. Because they know the way I spin. Also, when I get through spinning, your gonna be like there ain’t another mother fucker in this world like this man right here, and that’s all I got to say, holler!.

Much thanks to RP Boo for taking the time to do an interview, and to Neema Nazem for making it all happen. Download RP’s classic Dude Off 59th Street mixtape for further listening.

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15 Responses to Like Fucking Mozart: An Interview with RP Boo

  1. voldemort says:

    the best thing i have read on the subject so far. thanks so much for sharing this dave.

  2. cosign. excellent interview. can’t wait for him to drop new tracks

  3. Jedediah says:

    Good sir Quam, thank you so much for all of the works in this blog. So crucial. As a recent Chicago transplant, your work has opened these eyes wide. Much Respect.

  4. rizzla says:

    spot on as usual

  5. synaptic says:

    Nice read. Thanks for sharing.

  6. andrew says:

    very cool interview — any idea when dude off 59th street came out?

  7. jimi says:

    So good! Im tokyo..i follow Rp boo like crazy I study his patterns etc, I thought i was the only rp boo obsessive! Thanks for the interview and giving him the place he deserves..But i will beat him in the end with my beats…I swear tokyo is coming

  8. anywhere we can hear your music tokyo?

  9. Pingback: DJ Roc “The Crack Capone” - Concepto Radio

  10. Pingback: HOUSE-O-MATICS/ SOUTH SIDE JUKIN ‹ docu90

  11. lauti says:

    nice interview dave, I’ve been an argentinan juke fan for some years now and this was really interesting

  12. jaguarjiru (twitter:@jaguarjiru) says:

    yea… nice interview. In japan, it hard to get real juke-scene’s information! so plz keep reporting about Chicago Juke!

  13. Pingback: I Was Patient……………… B/W Lunch with Arpebu | IT'S AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD

  14. Pingback: Lo mejor en música electrónica en 2011: Juke y Footwork, la demencia de Chicago

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