A tale of several videos ::
again about the wonderful work that music does, the vitality of digital (youth) culture, the persistence of realtime, peer2peer creativity and sociability, & the obvious shortcomings of corporate hackery
u kno the first, no doubt —
The maker of many a best of 2007 list, Dude Nem’s “Watch My Feet” was a notable mainstream breakthrough of sorts for Chicago juke. Sure, there’s a bit of corporate hackery a gwaan here what with Dude Nem being the first juke group to get a national push from an out-of-town record label, but there’s a whole lotta esprit de corps in there too.
I remember getting the e-promo like it was yesterday —
As you might surmise (or already know), DIY versions abound, all asking you to watch their feet (if sometimes assuming you’re watching other things, esp when the feet aren’t really visible, knamean).
But, for my clickthrough, the most ebullient of em all (nem) is the the (DJ Nate produced ?!) audition for the Dude Nem video —
I find this^^ a lot more watchable (and that’s what it’s about, no?) than the slightly more choreographed segments we see in the official video (tho there are some gems there too). There are just so many individual styles on display here, a lot personality animating the footwork. I’m impressed in partic w/ how gracefully big man (from around 1:05 to 1:20) throws his weight around. But they’re ALL amazing.
Yes, it’s unfortunate that we don’t get a sense of sync here. (Overdubbing music for live music/dance scenes — a la Rize — really kills me; I want to know what it sounds like THERE). It’s perhaps less vexing, though, considering that juke footwork seems to be more “floaty” in character, not unlike ravey liquidity or over-acrobatic b-boying, than dance styles which engage more directly with the musical pulse. (Got actual dance vocab for this distinction? Do enlighten.)
Not too surprisingly, before long there was a corporate bandwagon version, even on OldTube (i.e., TV), featuring a very virtuosic if uninspired set of footworkers and employing an obv/awk ripoff of “Watch My Feet” while abandoning juke’s frenetic digi-tom rolls for some watered-down, ol’timey, Miami Bass-ish — like some ignant studio hack heard Dude Nem and went scrolling through his “Gangsta/Dance” loop library. (I swear, if Gant Man produced that crap I would not recant.) The vids even attempt to capture the spirit of an audition (not to mention the authentic patina of amateurism, as evoked in part by the inclusion of video “counter” data at the bottom of the screen), and with various versions offering up “competitions” between the dancers (using a split-screen; they’re not actually dancing simultaneously). It’s a YouTube-ready ad campaign, fo sho —
Not only do the Verizon vids pale in comparison to watching kids do kid things outside of stifling studios, for all their YouTube-readiness, they lag behind actual YouTube-savvy riffs.
I’d be remiss, then, if I didn’t conclude this brief survey w/ one of the most delightfullest mashup vids for “Watch My Feet,” wherein Dude Nem’s boastful, upful anthem is set to loops’n’clips from Happy Feet — as produced, apparently, by the same kid, an 18yr-older from Cayman, who did Soulja Boy Pooh (which has now garnered over 6 million views!) —
We can waffle over whether YouTube’s newly unleashed audio takedown worm will make this activity move elsewhere, but it’ll keep on moving, no doubt. (& I’m sure Dude Nem / TVT would be happy to rake in some ad revenue from all these plays, if GoogTube could get its act together on that.) At any rate, I’d say archive em while you can.
But don’t watch me, watch my tube.