RIP DJ Rashad
- Words: Shawn Reynaldo
Although an official statement has yet to be released, reports are coming in that DJ Rashad (a.k.a. Rashad Harden) has unexpectedly passed away. The news first received serious attention when Detroit's DJ Godfather posted a tweet sharing the news, which he later added had been confirmed by some of Rashad's "close peeps." Other confirmations are currently appearing online, mostly via Twitter. For instance, DJ Spinn, Rashad's frequent production partner, has retweeted a photo with an RIP message, and Lit City Trax label head J-Cush has posted the following words: "I lost my best friend today. Love you bro. I can't even breathe. I'll remember you forever." Hyperdub boss Kode9 simply added, "broken hearted."
Assuming that the news is true, the loss of DJ Rashad is a major blow to the Chicago music scene and the juke/footwork sound that it spawned. Having worked with Hyperdub, Teklife/Lit City Trax, Planet Mu, and a number of other labels over the course of his career, Rashad was arguably the juke/footwork world's most influential figure. His 2013 LP, Double Cup, was one of the year's most acclaimed albums.
Over the past few years, Rashad has frequently appeared on XLR8R. Earlier this week, it was announced that the newly christened Southern Belle label would be kicking off its run with a new Rashad EP. "Let It Go," from his Rollin' EP, was named one of XLR8R's Best Tracks of 2013, and last November, Rashad and UK producer Om Unit engaged in a lengthy conversation for one of our B2B features. On a lighter note, back in 2010, Rashad and Spinn put together an XLR8R podcast that spawned a full-on debate in our comments section about the general merits of footwork; those arguments seemed silly at the time, but now, they seem especially out of date.
XLR8R will continue to monitor the story, but unless we hear otherwise, we would like to express our condolences to Rashad's friends, family, and fans. Rest in peace.
UPDATE: The Chicago Sun-Times has confirmed DJ Rashad's death. On Saturday afternoon, he was found unresponsive in a Chicago apartment and was pronounced dead at the scene shortly thereafter. Police suspect a drug overdose, as drugs and drug paraphernalia were found near the body. An autopsy will reportedly be performed today.
Hyperdub has also officially acknowledged Rashad's passing, posting the following message on its Facebook page:
"We're absolutely devastated by the news that DJ Rashad has passed away. It's heartbreaking to see such a talented and great guy stopped in his tracks like that. So many people do what they do because of him. Our Condolences go out to his friends and family, keep your heads up Teklife Crew x
We will really miss you."
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