It has been reported by several sources that New York turntablist Roc Raida of X-Men/X-Ecutioners fame has died earlier today. The DMC and ITF DJ battle champ was 37 years of age. The artist had reportedly been hospitalized for a serious spinal injury following a recent accident while kick-boxing training. Along with Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, and Mista Sinista, Roc Raida rounded out the best known line-up of the X-Ecutioners (formerly the X-Men), whose other members had included Steve Dee, DJ Boogie Blind and DJ Precision.
In addition to performing and recording with his DJ crew (in 2002 the X-Ecutioners dropped Built From Scratch on Loud), he also collaborated with numerous hip-hop artists over the years, including Big Pun, Immortal Technique, O.C., Buckshot Lefonque, and Smif N' Wessun. Above is one of Raida's great turntable routines from the 1995 DMC battle that he won in which he displays his typical playful, fun approach to the art of scratching, incorporating ample use of body tricks. Note that at this time his crew was still named X-Men (they eventually were forced to change it due to Marvel Comics sending a cease and desist) and the DJ was known as Roc Raider (with an "R" at the end). I knew Roc Raida for many years and last interviewed him about two years ago. I will try to find that interview to transcribe for a future Amoeblog. R.I.P. Roc Raida.