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Traxman is one of the early pioneers of Chicago's juke/footwork scene. A veteran beat-maker and extremely knowledgeable crate-digger, he's been prominent as a DJ and producer since the early '90s, having co-founded the G.E.T.O. DJ'z, Inc. collective in 1992. Other than some obscure releases on the legendary Chicago house label Dance Mania, Traxman was largely unknown outside of his home city until the British label Planet Mu began devoting major attention to the footwork scene in 2010, issuing the producer's debut album, Da Mind of Traxman, two years later. Traxman is also affiliated with the worldwide footwork movement known as Teklife; the collective issued his Tekvision LP in 2017, and additional volumes followed in 2019 and 2023. Cornelius Ferguson grew up on the West Side of Chicago and started to DJ in the early '80s, before the days of house music. He grew up listening to a wide range of genres, including rock, jazz, soul, and new wave, and he would spin styles such as Italo-disco, which other DJs in the city weren't playing at the time. As house music developed and began to take over dance clubs across the world, Ferguson remained interested in the stripped-down, rhythm-centric side of house rather than the more melodic, chart-friendly side. He co-founded G.E.T.O. DJ'z, Inc. with fellow DJs Pablo Diskobar and Shawn Madness in 1992, and the collective eventually expanded to include others such as DJ Roc, DJ Clent, and Jammin Gerald. The first Traxman record, Westside Boogie Traxs, Vol. 1, appeared on the highly influential ghetto house label Dance Mania in 1996. Traxman continued to DJ and issue underground mixtapes, in addition to providing sample sources for other house and juke producers. Along with Gantman, he mixed the Best of Dancemania CD-R in 2003. He produced tracks such as "Pacman Juke" and "Get Down Lil' Mama," which featured faster tempos and more complicated sample arrangements than previous forms of house, reflecting the emerging style of competitive dancing known as footwork. During the mid-2000s, footwork began to come into its own as a genre of music, and producers such as Traxman, DJ Rashad, and RP Boo began releasing tracks and mixes online and developing followings through social media. The scene exploded worldwide when Planet Mu started releasing juke and footwork records in 2010. Traxman selections were included on both of Planet Mu's Bangs & Works compilations, and the producer released digital EPs on smaller labels like Moveltraxx and Ghettophiles. Additionally, Traxman became affiliated with Ghettoteknitianz, the DJ Rashad-founded collective that soon evolved into Teklife. The debut full-length Da Mind of Traxman was released by Planet Mu in 2012, providing the producer with long-deserved recognition outside of the Chicago scene. He remixed non-footwork artists such as Animal Collective, Rabit, and Ill Blu, and released Westside Boogie, Vol. 3 on the reactivated Dance Mania in 2013. K Town Born Holy City Raised, credited to Corky Strong (his more traditional house alias), was released by Halsted Street Entertainment that year. Da Mind of Traxman, Vol. 2 appeared on Planet Mu in 2014, and another Corky Strong release, Da Corky Strong Show, Vol. 1, was released by the Japanese label Melting Bot that year. The full-length Slash Time, co-produced by DJ Fred, was released by Duck N' Cover Records in 2015. Teklife issued Traxman's sparse yet heavy Tekvision in 2017. The experimental label Orange Milk released WhyTrax, Traxman's collaboration with fellow footworker EQ Why, in 2018. Also that year, Traxman released Back to the Future, a split EP with Chicago house pioneer Steve Poindexter. Tekvision, Vol. 2 appeared in 2019, with Jana Rush and DJ Deeon among its guests. Traxman kept up a restlessly prolific release schedule, issuing numerous digital albums as well as EPs and collaborations with DJ Funk, Fast Eddie, Will Engine, DJ Fulltono, and others. A third Teklife release, Tekvision, Vol. 3, arrived in 2023, including a DJ Rashad co-production.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
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