R.I.P. ‘DJ Rashad’ Harden, Chicago Footwork and Juke Pioneer

With the semi-regular feature .ext e n s i o n, Will Cash reaches deep into the Internet to map electronic sight and sound.

DJ Rashad, born Rashad Hanif Harden on Oct. 9, 1979, passed away around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 26, 2014 on Chicago’s Lower West Side. He is survived by a nine-year-old son, Chad, and his parents, Gloria and Anthony Harden. The cause of his death has not yet been determined.

Rashad is most widely known for being the foremost composer and DJ of Chicago’s footwork movement, an emerging variation of the house music he was raised on. His work has impacted people and music around the globe; his significance would be difficult to overstate.

Personally, his work has drastically shifted my musical pursuits and perceptions over the past few years. He was a man who seemed to be at his peak, but to say that would negate his undoubted, continual rise to new heights. Amidst his wisdom and notoriety, he was still willing to find time to be an encouraging and positive presence, even for those he barely knew. His work will continue to expand as it is, as well as in the hands of musicians the world over.

The news of his death has come as a shock to loved ones and supporters alike, resulting in an IRL and URL outpouring of homage. Please take a moment to check out some of his friends’ words below, and enjoy a mix of just a few of my favorite Rashad tracks. Throw one L up when you feel it.

Piece for Rolling Stone by friend David Barnes

Chicago Tribune Column

Hyperdub Release

Pitchfork Afterword