By Antonia Altomonte
Last month, on July 31, Toronto lost the city’s influential Hip Hop producer, artist and, DJ - Swiff LaRoc. Also known as Born Swiff, LaRoc passed away from cancer at 47 years old.
Swiff LaRoc’s family and friends joined together in memory of Swiff Laroc (born Howard Nicholson in Kingston, Jamaica) for his celebration of life in Brampton on Sunday August 19 and later for his funeral and visitation on August 24-25.
Swiff LaRoc was part of a hip hop production team – Da Grassroots composed of two other members; Mr. Attic and Mr. Murray. The group teamed up and worked with many local artists, such as Ghetto Concept, whom they produced for. Ghetto Concept won a Juno Award for best rap recording in 1995 with their track Certified, and also won the same award the following year with E-Z on The Motion in 1996.
Da Grassroots contributed to the development of Toronto hip hop throughout the ‘90’s, around the same time Maestro was coming up in the scene. Their career was highlighted by the release of their album Passage Through Time in 1999.
You can listen to the full album here:
© AndeyPewPew | YouTube
The group emerged at the beginning of Toronto’s hip hop scene and were one of the original hip hop pioneers in Toronto. Da Grassroots helped pave the way for many Toronto hip hop artists, and were key figures in setting the foundation for the second wave of Toronto artists like Ghetto Concept, Choclair and K-OS.
Views Before The 6 did an interview almost a year ago with Swiff about the earlier days of Da Grassroots, forming Black Employed Records and, what it was like doing production for Ghetto Concept. You can listen to the interview here:
Swiff also served as Community Radio Ambassador at CHRY FM (presently VIBE105).
DJ Wiz, On Air Ambassador - VIBE 105, who was close friends with DJ LaRoc expressed his grief at the death of his beloved friend. Wiz said:
“Swiff LaRoc was the most kind-hearted person you could be around. He was not only a mentor, great teacher but also a true friend.”
VIBE105 expresses our condolences to the bereaved family and friends. We will always remember Swiff LaRoc and what he’s done for the hip hop community. He will live forever through his music. Rest in Paradise, Swiff.