Kuala Lumpor's hip-hop community is mourning the loss of producer and DJ Joe Siva, a man credited with nurturing Malaysian hip-hop and fostering a generation of DJs. The Malaysian paper Star2 reports that Siva died of cancer. He was 61.
Siva got his start in 1976 as a disco DJ and club promoter, hosting shows and dance parties around the country. In the 80s, he founded Valentine Sound Productions, a label responsible for putting out mixtapes, or what he called "radio dance party albums," that often showcased local talent.
His legend grew when he signed Malaysia's first major hip hop act Krash Kozz, releasing the group's debut Pump It! in 1990. With their mix of New Jack Swing melodies and Run DMC-influenced rap, Krash Kozz became a sensation in their home country, and even managed to chart on the Asia Billboard charts, one of the first Asian hip hop acts to do so. Siva later joined the group as their DJ.
Siva continued to nourish local talent when he was made inaugurated the DMC World DJ Championship Southeast Asia regional contest, which continues in Jakarta, Indonesia today. In response to Siva's death, the VIMA Music Awards, one of Southeast Asia's largest independent music awards, has announced that it will present Siva with a posthumous lifetime achievement award.
Listen to "Educate Your Mind" from Krash Kozz's third album New Jack: The Street Beat, which features Siva's behind the turntable decks.