Spin - "[It's] worth your time, whether he's dropping stuttered-out Chicago street names on the mesmerizing 'Bang'n on King Dr' or flipping the same Luther Vandross loop from Kanye's 'Slow Jamz' as a hometown tribute..."
When Mike Paradinas began paying attention to Chicago's frantic, sample-twisting footwork genre, what drew him to the music was how abstract and unconventional it was. Some of the music is so rapid and bizarre that it's hard to imagine anyone dancing to it, yet it provides the soundtrack to dance battles and competitions. Paradinas was more interested in exploring the bizarre side of the genre rather than releasing more dancefloor-friendly tracks, and releases by Chicago producers including DJ Nate and DJ Roc bewildered and thrilled listeners who had never heard anything like these sounds before. RP Boo (Kavain Space) is commonly cited as footwork's inventor, and while some of his '90s tracks are relatively straightforward (if fast) Chicago house, his later tracks feature peculiar samples (with sources ranging from movies to cartoons to classic rock and soul records) piled onto each other in ways that sound jarring at first, but start to make sense on repeated listens. Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints is Planet Mu's second full-length release of tracks from throughout RP Boo's multi-decade-spanning career, and features some more conventionally danceable tracks like the Chicago street shoutout "Bang'n on King Dr." and the grainy, lo-fi "Suicide," but there are also tracks like "Freezaburn" and "Your Choice" that juxtapose rapid-fire chopped-up samples and beats with calmer, slower samples from soul and soft rock ballads. There are also taunting, obscenity-heavy tracks like "Finish Line D'Jayz," and the wacky "I'm Laughing" is straight-up mocking and derisive. Even as some of these tracks seem sinister and perhaps condescending, it's more in the tradition of hip-hop braggadocio rather than anything legitimately threatening, inspiring a healthy sense of competition. On the album's final track, "B'ware," RP Boo reflects on his past achievements, telling the listeners to follow their dreams. Fingers, Bank Pads & Shoe Prints is another thrilling, occasionally confounding collection that demonstrates why RP Boo is one of Chicago's most unique, innovative producers. ~ Paul Simpson