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.
Through battles, performances, recordings, documentaries, videos, dvds and even a Pepsi commercial, Roc Raida influenced thousands of DJs, both to partyrock as well as to battle. He took several aspiring DJs under his wing to mentor them personally. As a member of legendary turntablist crews, The X-Men and later, The X-ecutioners, he along with his brothers-in-vinyl took the world by storm, innovating, influencing and inspiring at every turn. In 2006, to progress and contribute to the Hip Hop DJ battle scene, he founded Roc Raida’s Gong DJ Battle, a national DJ battle that occurs annually, combining head to head turntablist dexterity with comedy and drama.
Not only was he a World Champion DJ, he was a dedicated father and husband as well as a loyal friend. Rest in Peace Roc Raida we are really going to miss you!
Funeral Arrangements and Viewing will take place on Thursday, September 24, 2009
The viewing for Anthony Williams will be held from 10am to 12 noon, immediately followed by the funeral beginning at 12noon at:
Mount Neboh Baptist Church
1883 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. (W.114th St. & 7th Ave)
New York NY, 10026
For those intending to send flowers, please kindly have them delivered to the church on September 24th, 2009 only between 9am – 10am.
The family requests that no filming or photography take place within the church at all.
Directions: 2 or 3 train to W. 116th St. Walk West on 116th St towards Lenox Ave. or take the M11 bus to W 116th St and Adam C Powell Blvd. Try www.hopstop.com for more directions.
All accurate information, official tributes and fundraisers (approved by the family) will be posted at:
Because many have asked how to send support, a paypal.com account has been set up.
The email address associated with the account is: email@example.com
Press, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for hi res or lo res photos of Roc Raida, more information, etc.
“As one of the Godfathers of Hip Hop, it is a tremendous loss to the Dj community. It’s sometimes rare to meet an individual who was a supertalent, but was so mild mannered and so calm. His skill level was admired worldwide. It was pleasure to see him in action. It was a pleasure to know him. I give my condolences to his family.” – Grandmaster Flash
“My heart is in pain over the passing of a good friend. He’s like a brother to me because he holds the same values I hold when it comes to my family, friends, music and life. He will be missed but not forgotten. I will keep his wife and children in my prayers. Rest in Peace Grand Master Roc Raida!” – GrandWizzard Theodore
“Roc Raida was an innovator on the turntables at a time when we thought the best of the best had been seen. His artistic wizardry seemed so effortless it reminded me of a young GrandWizzard Theodore. His easy going attitude was a pleasure to see in a time where most artists of his caliber were big headed. Salute young general and RIP to our latest Grand Master!” – GrandMaster Caz
“The Lord is forming his band right now. He called home Michael Jackson. But he was missing a DJ that could match the skill level as Michael. So he called upon Grandmaster Roc Raida.” – DJ Scratch
“Since the day I met Raida, he was the most humble, strong willed, genuine, ultimate competitor. The greatest DJ in my book.” – Lord Finesse
“Grand Master Roc Raida was one of the greatest DJs to ever touch a turntable. To guys like myself and Craze who came up right after the monumental generation of X-Men, ISP and Beat Junkies, Raida was the ultimate inspiration as a battle DJ. For those who knew him personally, Raida was also the kindest, more generous and funniest friend we had. He was like a mentor to me, I can’t even count the amount of times he helped me out over the years. I feel like I just lost a big brother. He will be sorely missed.” – DJ A-Trak
photo credits: 1st (top) by Joe Conzo, 2nd by Res One, 3rd by Christie Z-Pabon & 4th by Ignacio Soltero.