Returning from a week away, I was shocked and saddened to hear that veteran Milwaukee turntablist and radio DJ Rock Dee died on Aug. 1. Details of his passing have not been officially released.
Dee was also promoter of gigs, a local celebrity and a husband and father. He toured with the likes of Gumbo, Arrested Development and Eric Benet and served in the military.
The funeral will be held on Friday and is for family and invited guests only.
A note on the Web site of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, where Rock Dee most recently worked as a DJ, said, "Rock was a huge part of the 88Nine family. He was loved, respected and we miss him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Rock Dee."
Local musician and DJ Eric Blowtorch was a long-time friend of Rock Dee. He remembers, "One night at the Blues Oasis he pulled me into a cipher. I was reluctant, but he insisted I get on the mic. I was terrified, but received nothing but love from the host of microphone fiends. That night I heard Todd 'T-A Wiz' Whitaker live for the first and last time. I thank Rock Dee for that, for his hilarious quips, and for treating me like a real musician.
"The Fresh DJ Rock Dee Illy Dope, a/k/a Rock Dee, was a first-rate musician. As long as he had two copies, he could keep a one-bar beat going forever and dice both sources up without missing a beat. Like any great percussionist, he had his own sound, a nice blend of the anarchy of Marley Marl's early mixes and the snare-heavy gutpunch of Premier. His vocal drops, in anyone else's hands, would have sounded comical, but in his hands they sounded biblical."
Radio station 88Nine has organized a benefit for Rock Dee's family on Sunday, Aug. 17 at The Wherehouse, 818 S. Water St., from 1 p.m. until closing time. Among the announced performers are De Le Buena, Rusty Ps and Cache. Others will be announced later.
Ive been DJing for over 25 years, from Chicago, and I moved to Milwaukee in 91. within that 1st month of being here, I found Scrach padd ( at that time, on the corner of, 5th and Wisconsin) and DR.B, while looking for House wax, Doc introduced me to Rock Dee. That cat was always up to something, never upset, found the bright side of everything, and as I got to know the club scene here, we crossed path's many a time. Although We was not as close as we could have been, He was my competitor, and a damn good one. Some people thought Rock was concited? But when you can back up, what you say??? That was Rock. We last worked together last summer at the RIVER FRONT BISTRO, we both knew it would never stay open, but he came in with a energy that made it feel like a big event. DJing in Milwaukee is very commpetiive. its hard to find allies, and DJ's willing to help, or point you in the right direction. and with Rock gone... Its like loosing power in the middle of a party... ya just feel empty. To Rock dee's Family, I wish nothing but God's Blessings, and know that God ONLY TAKES THE BEST. With Rock being gone. the DJ scene in Milwaukee seems just a little... Quieter.
I have known Rock Dee since 1992. I can't beleive he is gone. Some of the best memories of my life happend while hanging out with him or listening to him DJ in the clubs! He sure will be missed!
God Bless him and his family!
He was quite prominent in the public eye. People are going to be curious and want to know what happened. Because of our highly inquisitive human nature, they eventually will. I met the guy years ago. For me, I don't need to know the details. But I'm sure somebody will get the details out there.
Why do we have to know?? Is it our curiousity even if done so with the best intentions? If a friend is gone the most important thing is where there are now. Rock's saying was "no stress God bless". I think that says it all. Lets give the man and family respect. What would you want the world to know?!
His influence and presence here was beyond respectable.
Rock was a positive and memorative presence for the Milwaukee community. We can honor him by making the effort ourselves.
Jas | Aug. 6, 2008 at 11:14 a.m. (report)
If they don't know, they can't say. The radio station isn't even saying how he died. Would you rather they not report anything at all until they can share every last detail? Then people would be complaining about the lack of coverage.
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