DJ Deeon, the Chicago DJ and producer who helped create the ghetto house subgenre in the early 1990s, has died, according to an administrator’s post on his Facebook page. Chicago label Teklife confirmed the news. No cause of death was given, but Deeon posted “pray for me” from a hospital bed last week. He had survived cancer treatment, a series of strokes, quadruple bypass surgery, and a leg amputation in recent years, according to a 2020 fundraising campaign.
DJ Deeon was part of a cluster of Chicago-based house DJs, alongside the likes of Traxman and DJ Slugo, that innovated the minimal, raunchy strand of house that became known as ghetto house (and inspired Detroit spinoff ghettotech). He prolifically released singles and EPs (including “Freak Like Me,” “House-O-Matic,” and “Shake What Your Momma Gave Ya”) from the mid ’90s to the mid 2000s, often through Jesse Saunders’ Dance Mania. In more recent years, he continued to release, reissue, and remix tracks via labels such as Numbers and Teklife. Daft Punk named Deeon among the formative lynchpins of dance music in their 1997 track “Teachers.”