Toronto DJ found dead in Caribbean Airbnb

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A Toronto DJ is being celebrated by the music community after he was found dead at a Caribbean Airbnb earlier this week.

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The body of Sean Lalla, 49, was found Tuesday morning in an Airbnb in Trinidad and Tobago, according to a local report. He was reportedly not seen nor heard from since checking into the rental several days earlier.

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Officials said an autopsy was ordered to confirm the cause of death.

Friends on social media said he wanted to spend more time with his mother.

Lalla, who went by the DJ name Elsewhere Sonido, promoted hip-hop shows in Canada during the 1990s and 2000s. In recent times, he lived a nomadic lifestyle collecting music during his travels while sharing his knowledge of obscure vinyl records.

“So devastated to hear the news of Sean Lalla’s passing,” The Roots drummer Questlove wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of Lalla.

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“The reason Canada got a taste of that real hip hop. He was the ambassador. Throwing the dopest parties. Back when touring was my DNA you always knew you’d do his parties like 4-6 times a year.”

Questlove — real name Ahmir Thompson — remembered Lalla convincing him to be interviewed by Vancouver music journalist Nardwuar “because it was the coolest honour to have.”

“God bless his family and loved ones and the community of music heads that loved him so for making their weekends so much doper,” he added.

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Hip hop DJ and turntablist Rob Swift also paid tribute to the Toronto resident for his influence on rap music in Canada.

“Before Twitter, Sean Lalla served as a gateway between Canadian hip hop and the world,” Swift wrote on X. “He may be gone from this Earth, but his impact in it is without end.”

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In recent times, Lalla had travelled to Mexico City, Brazil and Japan to DJ large and sometimes intimate parties. He called himself a “rare groove rescuer” who “cosplayed” as a DJ.

BBC radio DJ Gilles Peterson, who hosted Lalla earlier this month, called him a “total legend” and a “humble music fan.”

“We were last together just the other week … digging (for records) early in the morning on a Saturday before my radio show,” he wrote on Instagram.

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“He was everything good about hip hop — the music, the vibe, the poetry, and most of all the community.”

Niel Scobie, a University of Guelph music professor who is also researching Toronto’s rap music history from the 1980s, said he was saddened to hear of Lalla’s passing.

“Sean was a key figure in Vancouver’s hip hop scene through the ’90s and 2000s,” Scobie wrote alongside a photo with the DJ. “He was a tireless promoter and champion of the scene.”

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