On His Way Home: Remembering DJ Rashad, RIP [Exclusive OKP TV Video]
DJ Rashad, RIP
As you may have heard we lost one of Chicago's finest with the death of DJ Rashad this week. Producer, DJ, musical genius, torchbearer of Footwork and Juke, godhead, ambassador, innovator, crew-founder, father. Rashad Hanif Harden (AKA DJ Rashad) packed a lot into his 34 years. Although we did not know him long, we in the OKP camp were blessed to have Rashad as a surprise guest at the SXSW showcase for our electronic channel Okayfuture, founded by President Dan Petruzzi, who was an ardent supporter of Rashad's music. The Okayfuture crew has put together the definitive retrospective on the man's incredible contribution to his city, his scene and music in general--essential reading for those of us who only got up on his sounds recently--and we'd also like to share this OKP TV footage of his SXSW set, appropriately cut to the haunting bop of his Gil Scott-Heron-sampling track "On My Way" from TekLive, Vol. 1: Welcome To The Chi. Scroll down to watch and get the full story via Okayfuture:
Born in Indiana and raised in Calumet City, Illinois, Rashad started DJing in 1992. While in the 6th grade, he met his longtime collaborator and ally DJ Spinn in 1996 during homeroom class at Thornwood High School. He would go on to release his first tracks on vinyl in 1998 (D.B.C. Disko Baller Clique DM 255), mislabeled as DJ Thadz. Over the next decade, he would go on to perfect his skills as a DJ and producer, playing with numerous Footwork crews in and around Chicago. After the release of “Itz Not Rite” onPlanet Mu records, and subsequent inclusion on “Bangs & Works Vol.1” in 2010, Rashadbecame an in-demand touring DJ, traversing the globe, frequently with DJ Spinn by his side.
As someone who helped develop the raw and driving sound of Footwork, it was only natural that Rashad would be an integral part of it’s evolution. Rashad brought a level of depth and complexity to Footwork production that pushed the sound to a whole new level, while never losing sight of it’s roots. The amount of feeling and range of emotion that’s packed into his productions cannot be understated. You can hear the yearning in the melancholy strings and vocal samples of tracks like “Let It Go” and “I’m Gone.” You can feel the tension and rage in tracks like “I Don’t Give a Fuck” and “Shoot Me.” But these tracks were only the opening chapter to what would become Rashad’s Opus, his 2013 album, Double Cup.