CHICAGO – Rashad Harden, a house music and footwork pioneer who performed as DJ Rashad, was found dead this weekend of an apparent drug overdose, authorities said Sunday. He was 34.
Chicago Police spokeswoman Janel Sedevic said a friend found Harden’s body Saturday afternoon in an apartment on the city’s west side. There was no sign of injury but narcotics and drug paraphernalia were found near his body, she said.
An autopsy was conducted Sunday but the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said it is waiting for the results of toxicology tests to determine a cause of death.
Harden’s death comes just days before his EP was scheduled for release and less than a month after fellow house music star Frankie Knuckles died.
Rashad was considered a pioneer of footwork – an electronic-oriented music genre that originated in Chicago. Once known as juke, footwork is named for its quick dance moves and is known for what Rolling Stone calls a frenzied and hypnotic style of dance music that features heart-racing BPMs and, often, chopped-up loops of popular rap, R&B and pop vocals.