The Chicago juke and footwork producer DJ Rashad has died, according to his representatives. He was 34.
The artist and DJ, born Rashad Hanif Harden and based out of Calumet City, Ill., passed away around 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Chicago's lower west side. The cause of death is not yet determined. An initial autopsy gave inconclusive results, but the Chicago Sun-Times reports that drugs and drug paraphernalia were found by his body.
Harden is survived by his 9-year-old son Chad, and his parents, Gloria and Anthony Harden.
"Since he was a kid, he’s been doing this," Anthony Harden told the Sun-Times. "He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don’t get a chance to make our dream come true.”
Harden has long been a staple in Chicago's ghetto house, juke and footwork scenes, known for sounds and dance styles rooted in fast-moving electronic productions. He released his first vinyl single, "Child Abuse," on the esteemed label Dance Mania in 1998. Last year's LP "Double Cup," released on the acclaimed U.K. label Hyperdub, was his most popular release and greatly raised his international profile.
He had been booked to play L.A.'s Bootleg Theater on May 8, and a new EP "We On 1" was planned for an April 28 release.
Kode9, the producer and founder of Hyperdub, said in a statement: "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."
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