Rob Swift Rocs for Raida

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The late, great Roc Raida.

The late, great Roc Raida.

On Sept. 19, 2009, one of our great DJ/turntablists passed away. Anthony Williams (aka Roc Raida) was only 37 when he succumbed to a cardiac arrest due to complications that arose from a physical-training accident. He left a wife and three daughters.

Rob Swift, one of his colleagues from the legendary X-Men/X-Ecutioners scratch-DJ crew, has a special project that commemorates his dear friend and helps support Raida’s surviving family. Here’s Rob:

This May 17th marks what would have been Roc Raida’s 40th birthday. Unfortunately Raida isn’t here to rejoice with us, but it doesn’t mean we can’t. Thus, I ask YOU, Raida’s fans, not to mourn his death on his birthday. Instead, celebrate his life by supporting this project.

Although Raida only lived to be 37, he accomplished more in those 37 years than some people do in a lifetime. The odds were stacked against Raida from childhood. The odds say a young man who drops out of school will never make it out of the projects. But Raida not only left Harlem’s Foster Projects as an adult, he left New York and made a home for his wife and kids in Maryland. The odds say an aspiring DJ without turntables will never be able to perfect his skills. But Raida initially developed his style by going to other people’s homes and practicing on sets that didn’t belong to him. The odds say once you retire from battling you’ve given up your chance to win a world DJ title. But Raida came out of a three-year retirement and won the 1995 World DMC Title. The odds say once you die, the world moves on without you. But through the support of many of YOU for my mixtape “Roc For Raida,” the memory of Anthony Williams (aka Grandmaster Roc Raida) continues to live on. The odds have always been stacked against Raida and even in death, he continues to defy those odds.

So for those of you who’ve purchased “Roc For Raida,” on behalf of Tyeasha Williams (Raida’s wife) and their three kids, Tia, Nyra and Asia, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those who haven’t bought a copy of “Roc For Raida,” I urge you to please support. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to Tye and the kids. But if that isn’t enough incentive, I hope my latest “Roc For Raida” video trailer will move you to Roc For Raida!

Here’s a description of the video: Members of the X-Men and X-Ecutioners recently reunited to celebrate the life of Roc Raida at the “Roc for Raida” Listening Party at Scratch DJ Academy in New York City. DJs Sean C, DJ Diamond (Diamond Jay), Mista Sinista, DJ Precision, Rob Swift, and Boogie Blind gathered to reminisce about Roc Raida and showcase routines for an intimate crowd.

Check out the video from the event here.

Purchase ROC FOR RAIDA on CD at or for download on

Honorable mention to Rane and Scratch DJ Academy for helping me Roc For Raida this year!


DJ Rob Swift