Influential rapper, producer and Anticon record label co-founder Brendon “Alias” Whitney died Friday at the age of 41.
Anticon confirmed Whitney’s death in a statement Saturday. “Just received news of a major loss – the passing of our dear friend and Anticon co-founder @AliasAnticon,” the Los Angeles-based hip-hop label tweeted. “We will always remember him for his incredible heart and talent, and the support he gave us all. Rest in peace Brendon Whitney.”
Sage Francis, who collaborated with Alias, tweeted, “There’s no proper way to say this or deal with this, but so I want to put this out there and then step away for a while. Our great friend and longtime collaborator Brendon Whitney passed away of a heart attack yesterday. No one was nicer. No one. We love you, Bren.”
After moving from his native Maine to East Oakland, Alias formed Anticon in 1998 along with fellow experimental hip-hop artists like Doseone, Odd Nosdam, Why?’s Yoni Wolf and Sole, who initially recruited Alias to join his Live Poets and Deep Puddle Dynamics collectives. As an artist recording under the Anticon umbrella, Alias released over a dozen albums and EPs, including 2002’s The Other Side of the Looking Glass, 2003’s Muted (his first instrumental album) and, most recently, 2014’s Pitch Black Prism.
Over the past 15 years, Whitney focused more on production, crafting beats for songs by Sole, Sage Francis, Subtitle and Astronautalis and remixing tracks for Themselves and Son Lux.
Following Whitney’s death, a group of friends launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for his wife, Jenn, and two daughters, Aiko and Inara. A note on the page for the fundraiser reads, “By creating this memorial fund which goes directly to Brendon’s family, we hope we can try to help with the family’s financial burden and incredible amount of stress that will come because of losing this amazing man, this light, so suddenly.”