Sad news. Chicago and the world has lost yet another talented DJ/Producer (on the heels of the recent passing of the Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles). Chicago Juke/Footwork DJ/Producer DJ Rashad passed away in Chicago, yesterday Saturday afternoon on April 26, 2014 of a suspected drug overdose according to the Chicago Tribune. Rashad was found unresponsive in his apartment on Chicago’s West Side by a friend Saturday afternoon and was pronounced dead by Cook County medical examiner’s office at 1:50pm, he was 35 years old. An autopsy is scheduled for today, Sunday April 27th, and a representative for DJ Rashad will be releasing a statement on Monday April 28th according to Noisey.
DJ Rashad along with his partner in beats DJ Spinn, are among the Chicago pioneers and ambassadors of a Chicago House music sub genre (under the Ghetto House umbrella) known as Juke aka Footwork (also the name of a dance style related to the music). Their music has even inspired global interest, from Japanese to European Juke/Footwork inspired tracks. DJ Rashad with DJ Spinn has helped pushed the sounds of Juke/Footwork, incorporating production styles and elements from diverse genres such as Dub, Dubstep, Trap, Techno, House, Baile Funk, Drum ‘n’ Bass, Hip-Hop/Rap, Jazz, Funk, Soul and R&B.
Detroit’s GhettoTech (a genre cousin of Chicago Juke/Footwork) DJ Godfather, who was supposed to perform with DJ Rashad, late Saturday yesterday, responded to news of DJ Rashad’s passing on twitter:
I’m hearing some very disturbing news I need a confirmation about….
— DJ Godfather (@DJ_Godfather) April 26, 2014
R.I.P. to my long time friend DJ Rashad. Great friend & producer. I loved all the music we released over the years. U will be missed! — DJ Godfather (@DJ_Godfather) April 27, 2014
Chicago rapper Chance The Rapper response on twitter to the passing of DJ Rashad:
Music lost a legend today. And he was my friend. Love you DJ Rashad. RIP — Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) April 27, 2014
Other artists responded as well:
if its true that DJ Rashad died, thats sad news. so sad 🙁 — ℒℴѵℯJay ELECTRONICA (@JayElectronica) April 27, 2014
Music lost a legend … DJ Rashad will be missed .. My prayers go out to everyone saddened by this tragedy — Danny Brown (@xdannyxbrownx) April 27, 2014
Really sad to hear about DJ Rashad Another inspirational pioneer of an amazing wave of music. R.I.P. and thoughts to his family — Disclosure (@disclosure) April 27, 2014
Below we have a stream of DJ Rashad’s debut album Double Cup (2013), a Boiler Room DJ Set with DJ Rashad, a RMBA 2011 lecture with DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, music videos, and a few documentaries on Chicago Juke/Footwork. Gone too soon. Rest in Beats DJ Rashad!
UPDATE – Here is an official statement from folks representing DJ Rashad released today Monday 4/28/2014:
DJ Rashad aka Rashad Hanif Harden, 34-years-old (born in Hammond, IN – October 9, 1979), the Calumet City, IL-based DJ and producer, passed away around 1:30 PM Saturday, April 26, 2014 on Chicago’s Lower West Side. He leaves behind a nine-year-old son, Chad and his parents, mother Gloria Harden, and father, Anthony Harden. The cause of his death has not yet been determined.
Rashad’s father told the Chicago Sun Times on Saturday: “Since he was a kid, he’s been doing this. He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don’t get a chance to make our dream come true.”
His manager, Wes Harden: “Rashad was a kind soul that left an indelible mark on the music world as the torchbearer of Footwork and Juke. Rest assured that all of those close to him will make sure that the legacy lives on for a great man whose life has been cut far too short.”
Kode9 from Hyperdub: “I was honored to release music from Rashad on Hyperdub. I’ve only known him for around 3 years, but he had become a good friend and one of my biggest musical influences. He was one of the funniest, most positive people I’ve ever met and a true innovator. Everyone at the label is devastated by his passing and wish to send our sincere condolences to all his friends and family in Chicago, the Teklife crew and anyone anywhere who was graced by his presence and uplifted by his music. I’ll never forget singing duet with him in a karaoke bar in Tokyo”
DJ Rashad was a quintessential figurehead in the evolution from Ghetto House to Chicago Juke to Footwork and one of the artists to have to consistently pushed the evolution of the Footwork genre forward. He was born in Hammond, IN and moved to the deep south suburb of Calumet City, IL soon after. Rashad started out as a dancer (around the time he was in seventh grade) cutting his teeth with some of the most respected dance groups including HouseOMatics, The Phyrm, and Wolf Pac. He quickly thereafter took up DJing with some of his first public gigs around 1992 at spots like his sixth grade high school club Jubilation. He met his longtime ally, DJ Spinn, during homeroom class at Thornwood High School in 1996. They quickly began producing tracks at each others’ houses. During this era, they DJ’d parties with the likes of RP Boo, DJ Clent, Gant-Man and others.. His first release to make it to vinyl was the track “Child Abuse” on Dance Mania (mislabeled as DJ Thadz) in 1998. Following the release of his single ‘Itz Not Rite’ (Planet Mu) and his inclusion on the ‘Bangs and Works’ album (Planet Mu) circa late 2010 he was constantly in demand around the world and spent the majority of his time on the road touring the world as a DJ, more often than not in tandem in with his closest, lifelong friend, DJ Spinn. He was involved in many Footwork cliques – including Beatdown House (founded by DJ Clent), the Ghettoteknitianz (with DJ Spinn) and Teklife. As a producer his crowning achievement was the October 2013 release of his album ‘Double Cup’ on Hyperdub Records featuring collaborations with DJ Spinn, Taso, DJ Phil, Manny, Earl and Addison Groove. His last performance as a DJ was at Vinyl Club in Denver, CO on April 24, 2014. A new EP ‘We On 1’ is slated for release today Monday April 28th via a new Houston-based label called Southern Belle. His collaborations “Acid Life” with Gant-Man and “Bombaklot” with DJ Earl and DJ Taye are featured on the forthcoming Hyperdub 10th anniversary celebration album ‘Hyperdub 10.1’ which will be released May 20th. His music will live on eternally.
DJ Rashad’s Double Cup (2013) [Hyperdub] stream
RBMA Madrid 2011 Lecture with DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn on Chicago Juke & Footwork music/dance
RBMA Madrid 2011 Lecture: DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn in the mix
From Jack to Juke: 25 Years of Ghetto House – Documentary
Dude ‘n Nem “Watch My Feet” (2007), a palatable dance floor banger that was an introduction to many outside of Chicago to the sounds and dance of Juke/Footwork.
Thump – Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork – Mini Documentary
Juke / Footwork Mini Documentary feat Da Mind Of Traxman JP
Juke+Footwork Mini Documentary for NPR
Boiler Room – Teklife (DJ’s Rashad, Spinn, Manny, RP Boo) DJ Set @ Ray-Ban x Boiler Room Pitchfork Fest Afterparty
For more music and merch from DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn and their affiliated artists head over to TEKLIFE