The electro-funk renaissance man helped define the sound of the '80s.
New York City native Kashif Saleem was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer who shaped the sound of dance music in the '80s. His career began in 1974, as a singer and keyboardist in the funk band BT Express, and he broke off in 1978 to play alongside soul singer Stephanie Mills.
Saleem later became synonymous with electro-funk and boogie, with chart successes like "Lover Turn Me On (I Just Gotta Have You)" and "Love Changes," with singer Meli'sa Morgan. But he also wrote and produced records for an illustrious list of American pop stars, from Evelyn "Champagne" King to Whitney Houston and Kenny G.
He's credited with introducing synthesizers and drum machines into the vernacular of R&B and disco, laying the groundwork for the electronic sounds that would revolutionize pop music only a few years later. "He was definitely at the forefront of the whole dance music movement that led directly into hip-hop," disco singer Howard Johnson told Wax Poetics in February.
His later years were focused on activism and advocacy for children and teens in low-income communities. He founded the Kashif University in 2006, an arts and music training program located on the campus of Morningside High School in Inglewood, California. He died in his home in Los Angeles on September 25th, 2016, at the age of 56. The cause of death at this point is unknown.
Listen to "Lover Turn Me On (I Just Gotta Have You)."
Check out "Help Yourself To My Love."