Roc Raida, legendary DJ and member of the New York-based turntablist group the X-Ecutioners, passed away in September of last year, stemming from complications caused by a mixed martial arts injury. Rob Swift, a former member of the X-Ecutioners, along with Raida, testified to the impact his fellow DJ had on him in a recent Exclaim! interview.
“We lost an amazing person, number one. And an amazing DJ and artist,” Swift says. “Losing him was such a shock to everyone, especially the people who were close to him. The way he died as a result of an accident he suffered in a martial arts class. He wasn’t doing anything bad, he was doing stuff normal people do: working out.”
Swift goes on to say he had never lost someone close to him before, so the DJ knew he had to pay homage to Raida on his upcoming eighth studio album, The Architect. Swift had already finished the album and was in the process of designing the artwork for the album around the time of Raida’s passing
“The artwork was done maybe about two weeks prior to Raida passing away,” he explains. “And when he died, I got in touch with my artist and told him, 'I want to rework some of the artwork to reflect my love for Raida.' We decided to dedicate the album to [him].”
Swift also wore a Roc Raida T-shirt in his first-ever music video, made forArchitect track “Rabia Movement 2” (see below).
Swift is determined to make his future work a testament to his fallen comrade: “I’m going to continue to remind people with this album about Raida and keep his memory alive. It’s good to know I’m in a position to keep his legacy alive. I’m always going to do that in my music, whether it's videos or in [my interviews]. I lost a brother. I’m excited about keeping him going, and continuing what he couldn’t finish.”
The Architect is due out on February 23 via Mike Patton’s Ipecac label.