Update: (5/1): DJ Rashad’s label Hyperdub has told UK newspaper The Guardian that the footwork producer “died as a result of complications arising from a blood clot in his leg.” Apparently Rashad had complained of pain in his leg but it hadn’t been seen as life-threatening. In addition, the “drug paraphernalia” that was reported by the Chicago Police to be found near his body was marijuana, not hard drugs.
Update (4/28): Early on Monday morning, Hyperdub, DJ Rashad’s label, released a statement confirming the Chicago footwork artist’s passing at around 1:30 PM on Saturday, April 26th, on the city’s Lower West Side. He was 34 years old, and according to the Chicago Sun Times, an autopsy conducted yesterday was inconclusive. DJ Rashad leaves behind a nine-year-old son, Chad, his mother, Gloria Harden and his father, Anthony Harden. According to 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.”
Hyperdub founder Steve Goodman, who plays music under the name Kode9, has issued a short farewell statement as well: “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.”
Update (4/26): The Chicago Sun-Times reports that DJ Rashad was found dead by a friend in a West Side apartment early Saturday afternoon and pronounced dead at the scene shortly after. An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday. A drug overdose is suspected.
Chicago footwork pioneer DJ Rashad has died. While an official statement has not yet been issued, the news was broken and confirmed by Rashad’s close friends, including DJ Godfather and Chance the Rapper. Rashad, who was 35, was due to perform tonight with DJ Godfather and another longtime collaborator, DJ Spinn, at Detroit’s Inhale Art Expo.
DJ Rashad, born Rashad Harden, was a fixture in underground dance music for more than a decade, beginning in Chicago’s juke scene before helping to create and later popularize that city’s footwork movement. Lightning-quick and rhythmically complex, footwork went from a local phenomenon to a force within global dance music on the strength of UK label Planet Mu’s two Bangs & Works compilations, featuring many Rashad tracks, but it was DJ Rashad’s 2013 album Double Cup, released on Hyperdub, that has served as the sound’s most popular and finest document to date. A new DJ Rashad EP, We On 1, is due out this week on Southern Belle Recordings, a reminder that we have lost a vital force in dance music just as he was finally finding a larger audience.
Stream We On 1 below: