This is some heavy-duty bad news that I have the unfortunate task of reporting: Carnegie, one half of Scottsdale/NYC hip-hop duo Silver Medallion was killed in a car accident early this morning.
The 25-year-old Arizona native, who was known offstage by his real name Abay Lattin, was heading home from a performance when the accident occurred at around 3 a.m. near the Tempe/Mesa border.
His partner Oren J. Schauble was very much in shock when I spoke with him a few minutes ago. He'd been awakened earlier today by a friend informing him of the Carnegie's death.
"It was so hard to wake up and hear the awful news," Schauble says. "It feels kind of unbelievable. We did a show the night before in front of thousands of people and then he's suddenly gone."
Silver Medallion rose to prominence in 2008 amidst Scottsdale's glammed-out late naughties scene, both glamorizing and skewering the city's club life in their hit song of the same name. Earlier this year, the duo moved to New York where they'd found some success.
They'd flown back to the Valley on Thursday for a gig later that evening at the N9NE Fest in Tucson opening up for Pittsburgh's Girl Talk. The duo also performed last night at the Hotel Theodore in Scottsdale before Carnegie headed over to Philthy Phil's for a late night spin session at hipster dance night Ransom.
According to Oren, Carnegie was riding home from Philthy Phil's with recording engineer/hip-hop artist named Trife. They were driving near the Tempe/Mesa border when a Ford Expedition (allegedly driven by a 17-year-old) slammed into their car. Carnegie passed away at the scene while Trife (who sustained fractured ribs and a broken leg) and the occupants of the other vehicle were taken to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center.
Joel Davis, a longtime collaborator with Silver Medallion who spins under the name DJ Epidemic, summed up what I'm sure a lot of fans and friends of the group are feeling.
"It's a total clusterfuck and tragedy," he says. "Carnegie was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It sucks because they were only in town to do these shows this weekend and then this had to happen."
Schauble says Silver Medallion's scheduled performance at Afterlife in Scottsdale later tonight has obviously been cancelled, and he's planning to turn their Sunday evening gig at Martini Ranch into a DJ session and "tribute to Carnegie" featuring many of his late partner's favorite songs. (Carnegie was also supposed to DJ tonight at Doc's Place during Obsessions Saturdays. Fans and friends will reportedly be gathered at the event tonight in tribute.)
"It's going to be tough, but I'm going to keep going and come up with something to express his legacy," he says.
Numerous tributes and message to Carnegie have hit the Internet since word broke this morning. Karlie Hustle (formerly of Power 98.3) provided a touching tribute on her blog stating her appreciate for the hip-hop artist.
"I express my sincere pride in sharing the same space as you over the past few years," she wrote.
Numerous people have also posted comments to Carnegie's Facebook page, including DJ Jimmy Martin-Nelson (a.k.a. Death to the Throne).
"Abay Lattin was one of the coolest, most positive and open minded artist I ever worked with," Martin-Nelson wrote. "He was one of the few people I knew who loved music as much as I did. And the half hour argument I had with him over the last M.I.A. record and Kanye was one of the highlights of my life. But all that's gone now."
Like many of his fans and friends, I can back up Death to the Throne's kind words about Carnegie. He was a decent human being with a gifted voice who I got to both interview and share drinks with on a few occasions.
One memory of him sticks out in my mind: I gave Carnegie a lift back to his apartment after happening upon him outside of Myst in Scottsdale around closing time one Saturday night last year. He was a bit out of sorts after having been ditched by a date a few hours earlier.
We had a cool conversation during the drive about women and the many vexations that they can bring. Carnegie had had a few that evening and was feeling a bit philosophical about life and love, and was talking about how he was moving past that particular girl and looking forward to bigger things ahead. Before dropping him off, he said something rather portentous that's been haunting me a little since I heard the news of his passing.
"Life is too fucking short man," he stated.
It is indeed. Rest in peace Carnegie.