British filmmakers Tim & Barry traveled to Chicago in 2012 to document footwork at its fever pitch. It makes sense that fans from across the pond would helm this project, as the 160bpm street dance craze first exploded internationally thanks to the Bangs & Works compilations from UK label Planet Mu. Linking up with footwork titans like Traxman, RP Boo, DJ Spinn, and the late DJ Rashad, I’m Tryna Tell Ya captures the movement’s masterminds at their most proud.
As DJ Earl explains near the start of the 60-minute film, many of the top producers in the Chicago scene started off as dancers first. The hyperspeed gliding and rubbery-legged poses of footwork are inextricably tied to its chopped up samples and firecracker beats, as showcased in a series of vicious throwdowns at Chicago’s checker-floored headquarters, Battlegrounds.
We’re given a rare glimpse into the inner circles of the TekLife crew: In the scenes where dancer AG breaks down the evolution of various moves, Traxman taps out beats on his MPC and Spinn produces a series of stoned vocal takes. Though Rashad would sadly pass away just two years after it was filmed, the spirit of his Double Cup continues to flow over.