- When We On 1 was announced as the first EP on new Texas label Southern Belle, it was just another step on the path of Rashad Harden's unstoppable ascent. But now, released shortly after his sudden and tragic death, We On 1 takes on enormous significance as the footwork pioneer's first posthumous release. Like all of Harden's music, there's an air of excitement about We On 1 that makes it almost painful to listen to in the wake of his passing. The four tracks are slightly cruder than the smooth soul he mastered on last year's Double Cup. The needling bassline of the title track is especially harsh, and once the rotating cast of talking head samples gets to the "promethazine" section it feels suffocating.
Of course, Harden—who told me only months ago that "every day has been dope for [him]"—wouldn't want us to feel sad when listening to his music. And with these classic-style Teklife bangers, there's no reason to. The Spinn collaboration "Come On Girl" is a foul-mouthed ghettotech jam full of "pop that pussy" screams. Manny joins them for the near-schizo "Do It Again," which goes from chipmunk soul to barking Juicy J samples.
But it's "Somethin 'Bout The Things You Do," a collaboration with Gant-Man that chops up Chaka Khan's 1984 smash "I Feel For You," that'll really break your heart if you let it. Playful drum programming turns the sax jittery, and the frantic rush of vocal hooks over the next four minutes is Rashad at his most triumphant. Harden always had a way of turning footwork's sonic assault into something propulsive and encouraging. It's hard to imagine a better send-off for such a talented artist than a perfectly executed cut-up of a classic, and it's equally as difficult to think of anyone doing it better than him.
A1 We On 1
A2 Come On Grrl feat. DJ Spinn
B1 Do It Again feat. DJ Spinn & Manny
B2 Somethin Bout The Thing U Do feat. Gant Man