Idris "StarChile" O'Ferrall, a veteran fixture of the Portland hip-hop scene, has died, his father confirmed today on Facebook. He was 42 years old.
O'Ferrall had been diagnosed with CNS lymphoma, a form of brain cancer, just last month.
Starting out as a rapper, O'Ferrall, a Portland native, assumed numerous roles in the city's hip-hop scene beginning in the late '90s as a student at Wilson High School. He went on to run his own label and host radio and TV shows. He eventually got into concert promotion and event hosting, almost by chance.
"A friend of mine, who was working for Brand Jordan at the time, she was like, 'Yo, we're doing this tour, and the MC we have is trash,'" he told WW in 2016. "'They're killing him on the website and the blogs, so we're going to fly you out to Cleveland and have you host the event, and if you're good, then we'll keep you on the tour.' I told her, 'You might as well book my flights now, because I'm not going to waste this opportunity.'"
In 2015, O'Ferrall and others partnered with then-Mayor Charlie Hales to help create Portland Hip-Hop Day, a now-annual event bringing rappers to perform on the steps of City Hall every October. Two years ago, he helped hip-hop break through at another unlikely venue, McMenamins folk den White Eagle Saloon in North Portland, with the monthly Mic Check series.
"Most of the stuff going on in my life I could not have imagined, whether it was me or anybody else," he said in 2016. "But that shows you there's been some progress. We've got a long way to go, but you can't say there hasn't been any progress."
In the wake of his March diagnosis, O'Ferrall's friend, fellow Portland hip-hop mainstay David "DJ OG One" Jackson, set up a crowdfunding campaign to assist with his medical bills. It raised $9,500 in eight days.
As news of his passing spread Thursday afternoon, the hip-hop community both in and out of Portland shared messages of grief and remembrance on social media.
Today we mourn the loss of our friend @StarChile The visionary mind behind Mic Check. We are so grateful for the time we've had together & look forward to celebrating your life and legacy. Rest In Peace.— MicCheck_PDX (@MicCheck_PDX) April 26, 2018
Only a handful of people put on for Portland hip-hop like Idris "Starchile" O'Ferrall.— We Out Here Magazine (@weoutherenet) April 26, 2018
Rest in Love. You will be missed.
rest in peace @starchile grateful for the years of his life he contributed to making hip-hop happen in our little backwater town— noah (@coastalnoah) April 26, 2018
RIP Starchile. Super cool guy. Will be missed in Portland big time.— Jake One type beat (@JakeUno) April 26, 2018
man, I’m devastated. Star was such an important mentor/friend to this whole city. there will never be another. thank you for everything, @StarChile . Rest In Peace. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IgCNyfWwVf— WYNNE (@sinawynne) April 26, 2018
Some of the worst news I coulda got man...Rest In Power to a great man and mentor @StarChile 😢😢😢 I can’t believe this bro. Was a mentor that believed in me and a friend to me and many others. You won’t EVER be forgotten bro. I promise that 🙏🏾— Mic Capes (@MicCapes_Music) April 26, 2018
One of my earliest memories of Portland Hip Hop was listening to @StarChile’s radio show back in the day as a kid. And I still remember you clowning us for drinking PBR on stage at our first POH-HOP. Thank you for the love, Rest In Peace OG 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/l3TQ9bPFq2— T O P E (@itsTOPE) April 26, 2018
Damn it was a dream of mine to be on @StarChile’a radio show back when 95.5 was really the shit, I just met him for the first time while performing with @Andre_Waymond at @MicCheck_PDX and he mentioned to the crowd that he was fucking my shit. Huge loss for the city. pic.twitter.com/4P1O9MeBY9— i took paycuts & paper cuts jus 2 get 2 the paper (@matrandol) April 26, 2018