DJ Rashad Found Dead of Apparent Overdose

By Shawn Dwyer 04/28/14

The 34-year-old pioneer of house music and footwork was allegedly found by a friend in a Chicago apartment next to narcotics and drug paraphernalia.

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Rashad Harden, known by his stage name DJ Rashad, was found dead in Chicago over the weekend from an apparent overdose. He was 34.

Rashad was found by a friend in a West Side apartment according to police spokesperson Janel Sedevic, who confirmed that narcotics and drug paraphernalia were found near his body.

Once the news broke on Saturday, condolences began to pour in from across the internet. Chance the Rapper tweeted that night, “Music lost a legend today. And he was my friend. Love you DJ Rashad. RIP.”

"It's just a tragic loss of a great musical genius," said Morris Harper, a longtime collaborator and friend who performs under the name DJ Spinn.

Rashad was set to release a new EP this week called We On 1, and many thought he was going to have a breakout year. He was one of the pioneers of footwork, a frenzied electronic-oriented style of dance music known for its bursts of fast beats, dream-like synthesizers, and sampled loops of rap and pop vocals.

The style originated in Chicago, with Rashad playing a big part in its development. According to his father, Anthony Harden, Rashad began working as a DJ when he was 10 or 11 years old. “Since he was a kid, he’s been doing this,” Harden said. “He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don’t get a chance to make our dream come true.”

"He shared his music with everyone that would listen," his father continued. "He's been all over the world, taking footwork all over the world. He's done quite a bit over his short time."

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.