House Innovator DJ Rashad Found Dead

Artists and friends mourn the loss of the Chicago native.

By Adam Fleischer

DJ Rashad, a house music artist and footwork pioneer, was found dead in a Chicago apartment on Saturday.

Born Rashad Harden, the innovative DJ was particularly well known among fans of dance music, as well as in his native Chicago. During his decade-plus career, he was able to make an impact in the worlds of house, juke and footwork, a sped-up sound native to the Chi.

Though an autopsy performed over the weekend proved inconclusive, Chicago Police spokeswoman Janel Sedevic did confirm that drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment. Rashad was 34 years old.

In October, he released an album, Double Cup, through Hyperdub. The label's founder, Steve Goodman, released a statement on Monday (April 28) mourning the loss. "I've only known him for around 3 years, but he had become a good friend and one of my biggest musical influences," he said. "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."

A number of artists took to Twitter to express both sadness and loving words in Rashad's honor:

DJ Rashad's latest release, an EP titled We On 1, is out this week.