Grand Master Roc Raida: His Story of Love, Family and Hip-Hop

Tuesday, September 22, 2009   Rest in Peace: Grand Master Roc Raida … Funeral info for Sept. 24 + Accurate Info   [The following information has been supplied and approved by Roc Raida’s wife. Thank you in advance for your kind words and sympathy]   Anthony “Grand Master Roc Raida” Williams was born in Harlem […]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Rest in Peace: Grand Master Roc Raida … Funeral info for Sept. 24 +

Accurate Info


[The following information has been supplied and approved by Roc

Raida’s wife. Thank you in advance for your kind words and sympathy]


Anthony “Grand Master Roc Raida” Williams was born in Harlem New York

on May 17th, 1972 to Brenda Williams-Bolling & William “Tony”


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



At an early age, Anthony joined the Mt Neboh Baptist Church & was

baptized under the leadership of the Late Rev. William D. Gardner. It is

at Mount Neboh where he served faithfully during his youth. He was a

member of the Children’s Choir, the Junior Choir, the Usher Board, and a

former mascot for the Male Chorus of which his grandfather, the Late

Deacon Early Williams was a member.


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. By 1995, Roc Raida represented the United States at the DMC

World DJ Championships and won! He was the first DJ from New York City

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 have touring the world as

his day job. Williams was honored to have worked with recording

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!


With a very aggressive swagger on the turntables, those who knew Roc

Raida were floored by his humbleness. His wife, Tyeasha reports, “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 commendable unless he was pushed to his limit and then

he would roar. In fact, Lord Finesse called his friend “the quiet

lion” for this very reason. Those closest to him have the pleasure of

remembering him also as a hilarious comedian, loving to joke and laugh.


Roc Raida through battles, performances, videos, dvds and even a Pepsi

commercial, influenced thousands of DJs, both to party rock as well as

to battle and he took several aspiring DJs under his wing to mentor

personally. As a member of legendary turntablist crews, The X-Men and

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



Anthony leaves to cherish his memories; his loving wife: Tyeasha

Williams; three beautiful daughters: Asia, Nyra & Tia; one son: Earl

Tyric Smiley; mother: Brenda Williams-Bolling; his step-father:

Clarence Bolling; mother-in-law: Clarice Powell; father-in-law: Deryl

Hunt; sister: Tamneka Bolling; 2 brother-in-laws: Willie Neat & Keith

Powell; 3 aunts: Arlene Tramble, Jacquline Knox of FL, & Jacquline

(Donald) Tramble; 1 god-sister: Tina Carter; Adoptive Grandmother:

Juanita Jackson and a host of cousins & dear friends.

Anthony is now reunited with his grandparents, Deacon Early & Helen

Williams & his Aunt Minister Carol Knox.


The family would like to acknowledge these amazing “God-sends”. They

have truly been Tye’s backbone throughout this ordeal. To: Henley

“Pro” Halem, Sean C, Fat Man Scoop, Busta Rhymes, DJ Premier and

Christie Z. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!!!


The family would like to expressly thank Chatman-Harris Funeral Home in

Baltimore MD as well as Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem NY for

their generosity and kindness.




“As one of the Godfathers of Hip Hop, this is a tremendous loss to

the Dj community. It’s sometimes rare to meet an individual who was a

supertalent, be 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



“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 friends 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