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Sleezy D, one of house music’s early pioneers, has died.
Sleezy, real name Derrick Harris — a long-term associate of Marshall Jefferson — was the voice on some of house music’s earliest works in the mid-'80s, including early acid cut ‘I’ve Lost Control’ which was produced by Jefferson. The track is thought by some to be the first acid house track to be released on vinyl.
DJ Mag understands that Sleezy was taken into hospital earlier this week with kidney failure, which he sadly wasn’t able to recover from. Because he wasn’t insured, friends of Sleezy have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family towards funeral costs. He is survived by his three children.
Sleezy used to hang out in Marshall Jefferson’s studio, and they’d take cassette tapes down to the Muzic Box in Chicago where legendary DJ Ron Hardy was the resident. When Marshall’s day job at the post office changed shift patterns so that he was working nights, Sleezy would take the tapes down himself — he became a ‘face’ at the seminal house club. A keen dancer who started sneaking into the Muzic Box when he was underage, Sleezy would often be on the floor from the beginning of the night to the end — right up to the present day.
In a recent issue of DJ Mag, Sleezy recounted those early days at Muzic Box: “There were kids pretending to be gay to be in the scene, that’s how it was in Chicago — it was in to be gay. The promoters were structuring the parties to scare away the gang bangers… a lot of straight kids pretended, but the ones who were gay were proud of it.”
Sleezy had recently started a clothing company with Marshall Jefferson. Latterly, Sleezy had also been working on an album with UK house producer Steve Mac and Jefferson, which was slated for a release later this year.
DJ Mag sends condolences to all of Sleezy’s friends and family at this difficult time.