Musician believed in the communal powers of music

Joshua Brookshire built his entire life around music, hence music was more than a creative expression. It was a way to get intimate with people and build community.

So, whether it was starting the popular Rap Round Robin, a hip-hop event hosted annually; championing young musicians; or performing in his band, Speak N’ Eye, with his younger brother Aaron, Joshua was a true believer in the transcendent power of the beat.

Sadly tho', Joshua died June 21 at his home in Yadkin County of an apparent heart attack at the age of 35.

“(Joshua) was a character, man,” Aaron, the aggrieved brother said. “He did a lot for music around here.”

Joshua may be best known for Speak N’ Eye, the band he formed with Aaron way back in 2010. A hip-hop band with punk sensibilities, Speak N’ Eye released nine albums and played a circuit of dive bars and clubs such as the Black Lodge, Test Pattern and the Garage.


The brothers also introduced the Rap Round Robin to Winston-Salem. Characterized by a fast-paced, choreographed show that features hip-hop performers stationed in a circle around the crowd. One act will perform, the lights will go down and immediately give way to a different act, with the lights flipped back on.


This year’s show is scheduled for July 22 at Monstercade on Acadia Avenue. A way to pay tribute to Joshua is untimely demise.

Joshua was raised in a small coastal city in eastern North Carolina, at an early age he developed an eclectic taste in music. He got involved with the music scene while attending East Carolina University, taking Aaron along with him as they checked out hundreds of concerts.

Joshua moved to the area in 2010 and soon immersed himself in the local music scene.

Besides promoting his own band, Joshua backed rising talent, including local hip-hop artist OG Spliff.

“Josh was really passionate about getting the new generation out there, making sure their voices got heard,” Aaron said. “He had the ability to get shows booked, and his networking capabilities were really, really special. If he found a band on the internet, he’d reach out and try to get them here. More often than not, people were like, ‘Damn, Josh had an ear for music.’”

He was also an avid reader, painter and crafter with an obsessive love of hockey, Aaron said. Joshua worked at Little Richard’s Barbecue in Clemmons for nearly 12 years.

Carlos Bocanegra, the owner of Monstercade, called Joshua’s death a massive loss to the local music community.

Bocanegra and the Brookshires were among a group of musicians and artists who hung around the Black Lodge, Krankies Coffee and Re-Animator Records

“(Joshua) and Aaron performed a couple of festivals with us, and they were always extremely supportive of any new artists on the scene,” Bocanegra said. “They wanted Winston-Salem to be this amazing artistic hub, and they did that together with their events and the way they treated other artists.”

Bocanegra noted that he met other local artists at Joshua’s wake, a sign that not even death could stop Joshua from bringing together creative people.

“I miss him,” Bocanegra said. “I really loved him.”