By Colin Gallant
Mall Music, Inc.
The debut album by DJ Orange Julius is 43-minute exploration of how far you can stray from the Spartan grit of what we conceive of as footwork. While its his debut release, this anachronistic mélange of style isn’t without precedent: OJ is Mall Music certified, a label you might know on account of the weird gloom of fellow disrupter DJ Mastercard. More likely still, you were directed here by DJ Paypal, the gregarious ringleader of the label who has co-signs from crews like Teklife, Brainfeeder and LuckyMe.
While both Paypal and Mastercard feature on highlights of the release—respectively impish and downcast on cohesive, back-to-back numbers “Unforget” and “Finally Together”—credit is due to OJ for not letting them steal the show.
The Grove works in highly distinct, well-realized thirds: a goofy-grinned first act (“Still Geekin’” is a Gucci Mane flip, “Anuva” works from schmaltzy slap-bass, “Skkrtt” is a cookout jam centred on one of rap’s most meme’d adlibs), a no-fucks-given weird middle (previously mentioned collabs, dystopian opera vibes on “Muthafuk’n G”) and a final stretch made up of cold-blooded club fare.
The Grove makes footwork feel like a genre seeded in fertile soil, one that has the ability to challenge its conventions and even tell a nuanced story. It’s likely the last Mall Music release that will occur before the label becomes a household name.DJ Orange Julius, Inc., Mall Music, The Grove