Florida breaks pioneer Rick West sadly passed away last Friday, September 27. His friend, Robert Leigh (aka Rob Analyze), sent us these words in his memory:

Rick started his DJ career in 1988 playing all over the world, influencing up-and-coming breaks producers and DJs. His collection of mixed CDs, called Flavored Beats, set the standard for what was soon to be know as Funky FL Breaks. He gain respected from all the top producers, DJs, and locals in the genre, and also worked full time at Painted Puppy, the-go to record store for underground dance music in Tampa.

DJs in the bay would walk in the store and Rick would know what each and everyone of them wanted. I think we can all say he hand-picked our selections, and we believed in it because it was great music. He just had the ear for it and was a friend to us all. He also was a true breakbeat fan. He could name you any producer’s name with the color of the record, what plant it was pressed at, where the sleeves were designed, to the time length of the song and who was on the remix—even if it sucked.

Rick was a great friend—the kindest, most upbeat person I ever got to meet in life. I will miss you, my friend, as well as all your breakers out there and the main ones from your hometown of Tampa. On behalf of myself, Bombeatz Music, Jamvana, Ybor City, 93.3 FLZ, and the Tampa Bay breaks community, we want to say goodbye and we all love you, Rick. You will never be forgotten and your music will live on.

A memorial will be held in Rick West’s honor this Saturday, October 5th at Luna Lounge Patio, 1802 7th Avenue Ybor City, Tampa.