Anthony “Grand Master Roc Raida” Williams was born in Harlem, New York on May 17th, 1972.
He passed away on Saturday, September 19th, 2009 from a cardiac arrest resulting from injuries he suffered in an accident while training in Krav Maga, a type self defense system that he had been studying weekly for the last two years. He was proud that his 15-year-old daughter, Asia, shared his passion for Krav Maga and was the only girl in their class.
Anthony Williams was both African-American and Puerto Rican. He lived most of his life in Harlem but after marrying his soul mate, Tyeasha on June 26, 1997, they moved to the Bronx. Several years ago, they realized their dream of owning a home and relocated their family to Maryland. He encouraged and shared in his wife’s dream of one day opening up her own beauty salon.
He began DJing at the age of 12, spinning at local parties around Harlem. In 1991, he won the AS 1 DJ Battle. By 1995, Roc Raida represented the United States at the DMC World DJ Championships and won! He was the first DJ from NYC to hold this title and was automatically inducted into the DMC/Technics DJ Hall of Fame. Throughout his life, he lived his passion – being a professional Hip Hop DJ. He was blessed to tour the world as his day job. Williams was honored to have worked with artists including Showbiz & AG, Lord Finesse, Kool G Rap and most recently, he toured exclusively with Busta Rhymes.
Although his family called him “Ant” (short for Anthony), he became known worldwide as legendary DJ Roc Raida. In 1999, Grand Master status was bestowed upon him by a group of pioneering Hip Hop DJs, during a conference at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.
Before he passed, he asked his 10 yr. old daughter, Nyra, who was the most interested, of his children, in DJing to take over for him as a DJ. She agreed – so look out for Nyra!
With a very aggressive swagger on the turntables, those who knew Roc Raida were floored by his humbleness. His wife, Tyeasha said, “His notoriety amazed him every day!” He never took that for granted. Williams was also known to be very quiet, private and easy going. His self-control was admirable but if pushed to his limit – he would roar. In fact, Lord Finesse called his friend “the quiet lion” for this very reason. Those closest to him also have the pleasure of remembering him as a hilarious comedian who loved to joke and laugh.