Footwork Music Pioneer DJ Rashad Dies at 34

Footwork Music Pioneer DJ Rashad Dies

Rashad Harden, a Chicago musician known as DJ Rashad who helped bring footwork music to the mainstream, has died, according to Chicago Police. He was 34.

The DJ was reportedly found dead by a friend in a Chicago West Side apartment Saturday afternoon of an apparent drug overdose. According to several outlets, an autopsy is scheduled for Sunday.

Harden was set to release his latest EP, “We On 1,” on Monday. He also had a full year of touring clubs around the world lined up. Detroit’s DJ Godfather, who set set to play with Harden Sunday night, tweeted the news on Saturday.

Harden is a resident of Calumet City, which is just outside of Chicago. He became a well-known force in the city, playing in many clubs and performing at last year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, where he was set to play again this year. He also opened for Chance the Rapper on a tour at the end of last year.

Harden’s fifth LP, “Double Cup,” released in 2013, garnered the DJ critical acclaim and is credited for helping to bring footwork to the forefront. Footwork, previously known as juke, is a music genre born in Chicago with an electronic foundation, noted for its quick dance moves, fast tempo and frequent integration of popular vocals.

Harden’s death comes shortly after Frankie Knuckles, a fellow house music, also died in Chicago late last month.

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    1. Josh S says:

      Pedantic note: This new Footwork is associated with the Juke scene and got hip again because of that, but “footwork” in Chicago is a lot older — think Etta James and Curtis Mayfield covers done quicktime for dancing. It’s a scene a lot of black grammas are in (much love to my black grammas). Check Out of the Past records for footwork show flyers, and you’ll see.

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