Detroit booty master DJ Godfather — check our exclusive interview with Godfather about the passing of DJ Rashad — has come out swinging with a video for his new jam “UP! (The Movement Festival Twerk Anthem)” out today on his Dirty Knock label.
Filmed at Movement Detroit over Memorial Day weekend, where he performed with DJ Zebo and MC Flipside on the Moog stage, the video features Godfather wreaking havoc on the decks while a contingent of dancers shake what their mama gave them. The crowd is clearly into the barrage of beats, bass and bootay, lapping up every second of the party perfect song. Once again Godfather makes us an offer we can’t refuse.
On Saturday I found out about DJ Rashad’s death like almost everyone else did — on Twitter. For even the most casual listener of juke or bass music it was an unexpected punch in the gut nobody was braced for. Rashad Hanif Harden, 34, was on top of his game at the time of his reported overdose in Chicago. After toiling for years as an underground DJ/producer in Chicago, he connected with UK-based Hyperdub Records in 2013. The label presented his music to a bass-loving global audience that was developing a taste for the raw, slice-n-dice post-Dance Mania Records sample-based tracks he’d been producing for years. Rashad’s 2013 full-length Double Cup for Hyperdub transitioned him from single slinger to proper album artist. The full-length earned him artistic cachet though his association with Kode9‘s respected imprint and its clique of artists. While Rashad didn’t become a millionaire or anything as far as we know, he was able to climb a few rungs higher on the global DJ ladder. He gigged a lot more internationally and added festival dates to his tour itinerary.
Witnessing the outpouring of love for Rashad on social media — his name was trending on Twitter for almost two full days — was beautiful. So many fellow DJs, artists and fans paid tribute to the man and his musical chops, but I wondered how much of the hyperbole was lip service. Juke is an acquired taste even for even the most diehard house-music fan, and the footwork parties I’ve been to are always relegated to small clubs attended by only a smattering of hardcore fans. How could so many people love the man and the music but not fully support both?
I spoke with Detroit’s DJ Godfather to get some perspective on Rashad’s tragic death. While it was widely reported that Godfather broke the news about Rashad’s passing on Twitter (we got it wrong too), he says he did nothing of the sort. In this exclusive interview conducted on Monday afternoon, Godfather, who knew Rashad for over a decade, released a chunk of his work on his Juke Trax label and was scheduled to headline a party with Rashad and DJ Spinn in Detroit on Saturday, walks us through the timeline of how he learned about Rashad’s passing. He also shares how he met the Chicago phenom and offers some initial thoughts on how he might pay tribute to his late friend.