Volume 76, Number 19 | September 27 - October 3, 2006

Villager photo by Toni Dalton

A memorial to Joshua David Crouch a.k.a. “LEFTist” by the Hudson River Park bikeway at W. 12th St.

No answers in musician’s hit-run death on West St.

By Lori Haught

On Mon. Sept. 18, musician Joshua David “LEFTist” Crouch was killed in a hit-and-run incident at 3:45 a.m. on the West Side Highway near 12th St.

A founding member of Brooklyn’s MindSpray Hip-Hop Crew, Crouch was walking home to Williamsburg after hanging out with some friends he had just met at his new job, according to band mate and MindSpray co-founder, Morgan “C.O.N.C.E.P.T.” Lamarre.

A memorial left at the base of a lamppost by the Hudson River Park bikeway at W. 12th St. has photos of Crouch, bouquets of flowers, a red guitar pick, a large silver “J” keychain, a set of keys, a red lighter, a CD — “Shot in the Dark” by MindSpray — and scattered packs of Yogi Tea Throat Comfort. Memorial notes left by friends talked about first meeting Crouch on Bedford Ave. or enjoying a bike ride with him in Brooklyn during a downpour while searching for the Manhattan Special soda factory.

“I miss him,” Lamarre said. “He was my best friend, my roommate and my business partner.”

Lamarre and Crouch — the band’s M.C., or vocalist — had just released the first LEFTist/C.O.N.C.E.P.T. CD, “Intervention,” and according to Lamarre they had sold all the copies they had made before Crouch’s death.

Crouch, 24, was greatly loved by his friends and fans, Adam Bernard, a friend, said. He grew up in Wilmington, N.C., and moved to New York at 18 for college.

He ended up staying after graduation, Lamarre said.

“If you met the guy, you couldn’t not be his friend,” Bernard said. “Within five minutes there would be a connection.”

Crouch’s passions were hip-hop, people and life, Bernard said.

“He really seemed to have sort of a lust for living,” he said. “He got to spend his life doing what he loved.”

Crouch was all about bringing people together, Bernard said. He had no negative sentiments in his lyrics. Lamarre said Crouch was politically oriented and dedicated to helping people, donating money to charities and the homeless.

Tony “Conscious” Walker said Crouch had never had a negative conversation with him in the three years he knew him.

“He was actually, genuinely, nice,” Walker said. “It reminds you to appreciate those who are sincere.”

According to a police spokesperson, no one has been identified in connection with or charged with the crime. A newspaper report said that based on the skid marks, Crouch had likely been hit by a tow truck or tractor-trailer.

Lamarre said Crouch’s friends and family would just like to know what happened so they have some closure. No one in his close circle knows what he was doing on the West Side Highway, since he was meeting with people they were unfamiliar with. Lamarre said he hopes nothing bad had happened to him prior to the accident since no wallet was found on him.

Lamarre said the experience has not damaged the MindSpray Crew, but instead brought them closer together.

“He won’t have books written about him like Tupac, or have his songs stay in rotation on Hot 97 eight years after his passing, like Biggie,” Bernard wrote in his blog after Crouch’s death. “Heck, a lot of people may not have even heard of him, but there is no doubt that to those that knew him LEFTist of the MindSpray Crew was an important and beloved individual.”

A memorial will be held Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. at Asterisk Art Project Space, 258 Johnson Ave., in East Williamsburg.

With reporting by Lincoln Anderson

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