R.I.P. Roc Raida
It’s with great regret, and much sadness, that I have to report the passing of Grand Master Roc Raida (1972 – 2009). No specific details have been released, but it is believed that there may have been complications with regards to surgery he underwent after a very recent martial arts accident. At this time my thoughts and condolences go out to Anthony Williams’ family and friends – this is both tragic and upsetting.
A true legend of hip-hop and turntablism, Roc Raida was the very reason for thousands of young people over the years taking up DJing and turntable battling. He was a pioneer of techniques, be it scratches, juggles, or body tricks. As an original member of the X-Men (later the X-Ecutioners) along with Rob Swift, Total Eclipse and Mista Sinista, Roc Raida graced an untold amount of stages and DJ booths throughout the world, taking with him his unique and awe-inspiring skills, turning heads in every town that he went to.
I had the great fortune of meeting Roc Raida in Brisbane a few of years ago, when I was working at Butter Beats record store. Lord Finesse was due in to the store along with Q-Unique, DJ Eclipse and… Roc Raida, as part of their Zulu Nation Supa Jam Tour. The store was rammed with people waiting to get autographs, mainly from Lord Finesse. Some of the other guys were engaging in conversation with the fans, but Roc just kept himself to himself in a quiet corner, minding his own business. Now, as much as Lord Finesse is a legend himself, I was always a huge DMC and general turntablism head, so even before these guys turned up I knew it was Roc that I wanted so desperately to meet. So, as people are forming a not-so-orderly queue to speak and get autographs off Finesse, I make a definitive move in the direction of Roc. Out went my hand and I said something dorky like, “I’m a huge fan and it’s a real privilege to meet you”, albeit dorky, it was meant sincerely and I got the impression Roc could tell as much. He seemed quite shy, but a huge smile spread across his face and he thanked me and shook my hand. We spoke for a while and he came across as a genuinely humble and decent guy. There was a warmth which emanated from him – that feeling you get when you know you’re in the presence of a good person. And I truly was.
I never get tired of watching and re-watching Roc Raida’s turntable routines, he really was one of the kings in the tricks department. So, I shall leave you with this classic clip – absolutely timeless…
R.I.P. Roc Raida, you will be missed.