After performing “Harlem Streets” at the Smokeout Festival in San Bernardino, CA, rapper Immortal Technique pointed out the otherworldly turntable work at the end of the song. “You heard them cuts?” he asked the crowd. “That’s the work of a master.” A Grand Master, he corrected—as the scratching was done by DJ Roc Raida, who earned his title after winning the DMC World DJ Championship in 1995 with a dynamic and still-unparalleled six-minute set. Raida, born Anthony Williams, was a member of legendary DJ collective the X-Ecutioners. Sadly, he passed away in September 2009 from complications of cardiac arrest while training under Krav Maga, a form of martial arts. Raida was 37.
“I believe the people that pass on in the physical stay with us in the spiritual,” Technique told the festival audience. He referred to the DJ as his brother and praised his selflessness. “He never asked me for a dollar, never asked me for nothing, did all the cuts on [Tech’s 2003 release] Revolutionary Vol. 2.” Tech did not call for a moment of silence, however, opting instead for a more poignant “moment of noise and commemoration.” [Nah Right / All Hip Hop]