DJ Rashad Dies of Apparent Drug Overdose
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DJ Rashad Dies of Apparent Drug Overdose


DJ Rashad overdoseIn sad news, yet another rising star has apparently been lost to drugs. Rashad Harden, a 34-year-old house DJ and footwork music pioneer who called himself DJ Rashad, was found dead with drug paraphernalia surrounding him in a Chicago West Side apartment over the weekend.

An autopsy was conducted on Sunday, but the medical examiner is still waiting for the toxicology results to declare a cause of death. In a sad twist, Harden’s EP, “We On 1,” was scheduled for release in just a few days, and he seemed “poised for a breakout year”—his last album, released on  influential label Hyperdub, was getting great reviews and he was slated to play at venues across the world. He was considered a pioneer in the world of footwork—a Chicago-born type of electronic music formerly known as Juke. And he was survived by a nine-year-old son named Chad.

It’s unclear what type of drugs Harden was on, but in the long run, it doesn’t even matter. All that matters is that another young artist’s promising future has been compromised and stolen in a battle with substances. I’m almost never surprised when I hear about deaths like this anymore; addiction is so rampant and overdose so incredibly common, it’s just a matter of time before we lose another talented soul to their demons. Does this make it any easier or less heartbreaking every time it happens? No, of course not.

RIP, DJ Rashad.

Photo courtesy of Timothy Misir [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.