It’s sort of funny that RP Boo (aka DJ/producer Kavain Wayne Space), who’s been active on Chicago's footwork scene for more than two decades, would name his fourth LP Established! He’s long been considered a standard-bearer—arguably the creator—of the regional sound, which relies on jittery, extremely off-kilter beats to braid dancers' legs into a 160-BPM game of Twister. Of course, with his establishment status comes the responsibility to lead in a new direction, and that’s what happens, in fits and starts, with Boo’s fourth album. The 4/4 beat of opener “All My Life” is the first signal of that departure—and provides a window into the electro-funk and house that Boo likely absorbed before he ever sat down in a studio. And “How 2 Get It Done!” starts off with a greasy, ’70s slow-jam vibe before it morphs into deconstructed G-funk and a barrage of snares that snap to an entirely different grid from the underlying rhythm.
Those looking for more classic-style tracks—and aggressive conceits—will still find them in abundance. The theme of dunking on one’s detractors, for instance—a perennial footwork favorite since long before DJ Nate dropped “Hatas Our Motivation” in 2010—is well represented on "Haters Increase the Heat!,” where the minimalist bass wobbles between the channels to such a degree that it throws you off balance even when you're sitting down. Footwork tracks can certainly feel like unfinished sketches at times—more a tool for dance-party battles than something you might just have on in the background. But it’s in the DIY experiments that Established! conducts—how many tempos can a track have layered on top of one another before it collapses under its own weight?—where the boundaries really get tested.