Back in the early '90s, the DJs Rob Swift and Roc Raida would take the subway to each other's cribs and engage in seven-hour practice sessions. Raida's apartment, up in Harlem, was decorated with posters of rap acts Ice Cube, Kid 'N' Play and MC Lyte; Swift's bedroom in Queens showcased inspirational pictures of Jimi Hendrix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As Swift says now, from his apartment in Jackson Heights, "Me and Raida had different tastes and influences but we bonded as DJs as soon as we met." Soon, the duo would terrorize the hip-hop battle scene as part of both the X-Men crew of super-DJs and then the X-Ecutioners.
But that bond was tragically cut in September 2009, when Roc Raida passed away after suffering a heart attack that stemmed from an accident that occurred while practicing martial arts a couple of weeks earlier. It's a loss his friend and DJ peer Rob Swift has chosen to commemorate by releasing Roc For Raida, a mix of Raida's best routines, productions, and poignant interview snippets; all proceeds from the project will go to Raida's family. Swift sat down and reminisced about how Raida's school of DJing thought differed from his fellow X-Men's, the day their crew faced off against Q-Bert and Mixmaster Mike's Invisibl Skratch Piklz, and how Raida's developing production work might have seen him collaborating with Jay-Z.More »