I vividly remember the first time I experienced a DJ Rashad production. Clicking play on ‘I Don't Give A Fuck’, I initially had no idea that the next 156 seconds would shake my perception of music to its very core. Like the moment when Tyler Durden's secret is revealed, my mind was doing backflips. But by the end of the track, it became crystal clear- my mind wasn't backflipping, it was footwork I was feelin'.
‘Feelin'. The title of the opening salvo from Rashad's merely 6 month old debut album, the word captures the essence of what made his music so immediately compelling. The sound was so fresh and distinct that I couldn't rely on any previously generated responses, and had to go through the process of experiencing new ones. The TekLife sound was a glorious reminder that I was alive, that new and exciting things can and will rock your world from time to time.
Sadly enough, what was "new" to me had been going on for years locally in Chicago. Rashad was incredibly prolific- he and his fellow producers had been at this for ages, honing and mastering their craft away from much spotlight or recognition. But, thanks to a much deserved signing to Hyperdub, his more recent work found its way into the ears of a much larger audience.
In the short time span of 2 years, Rashad managed to push the ever-nearing worlds of electronic and hip-hop music further forward than many could even dream to do in 20. The influence of his Hyperdub releases, combined with the dozens and dozens of brilliant tracks in his back catalog, will echo across the musical landscape for years and years to come.
Thank you Rashad, and rest in peace.
Words: Nick Dalessio