Double Cup [10th Anniversary Reissue]
Ten years on, DJ Rashad’s Double Cup remains a high watermark both within the footwork community and at the intersection of rap and electronic music. Concocting dance grooves laced with chopped samples, Rashad was the Windy City’s answer to Houston’s syrupy compositions, DJ Screw raised on house music instead of Darryl Scott DJ sets. In lieu of the Screwed Up Click, Rashad had his Teklife squad, which included DJ Spinn, Taso, DJ Manny, DJ Earl, and DJ Phil—almost all of the tracks on Double Cup feature a credit from one of these Teklife mainstays.
From the opening moments of the album, it’s clear that Rashad’s ambitions are greater than ever before. “Rashad and I knew that this was our opportunity to showcase on a broader level,” Spinn explained in a press statement for the reissue campaign. “We wanted to make sure we included all the guys in the recording. It was really like a posse album for the most part.” Rashad’s outstanding abilities as a producer were matched by his ability to assemble a crew of up-to-the-task talent. He was a bonding agent, the glue that held Teklife together, and the person who applied the adhesive in the first place. When he tragically passed away in 2014, Teklife continued, but its heart had ascended to heaven. Double Cup was a defining statement within the crew’s community of collaborators and a notice to audiences worldwide: Teklife’s got something to say.
With this bit of background established, it’s helpful to ask why, exactly, this reissue is essential in telling DJ Rashad’s story. After all, the 10-year anniversary release comes with new artwork, a limited-edition vinyl pressing, and…one bonus track. Granted, that additional track is a previously CD-only recording that brilliantly samples Stevie Wonder, but the offerings are slight. The argument, of course, is that introducing Rashad to a new generation of dance, rap, electro, house, juke, and, yes, footwork fans is an essential task. It’s a real time look at Rashad and his team grabbing the torch from Chicago house legends and imploring audiences to sprint into infinity with them. More than a boundary-pushing album, Double Cup does away with these facades entirely.
Double Cup is a work of pure imagination (shoutout Wonka). Endlessly repeatable, deliriously joyful, occasionally very vulgar—what else could you ask for in an album? And, for what it’s worth, “Last Winter,” the bonus track that pulls off the most Rashad flip ever by sampling two lines from the third verse of Stevie Wonder’s eight-minute epic “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You),” is worth the price of admission alone. Whether or not you decide to treat yourself and go all in with the gold vinyl is beside the point. It’s not too often we get to celebrate generational touchstones in appropriate contexts, so let’s raise a cup—two, I mean—to the late great Rashad. Popular music has moved closer toward his vision since he left, but no one has come close to approaching his sound. That’s the mark of true genius.