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"That DJ made my day" RIP Jam Master Jay

Author: michelle pirovich
Friday, November 1, 2002
He has a little soul, to rock 'n' roll
Every record that he touches turns to gold
He's well conducted, self-instructed His styles were plied, heavily constructed
Mechanically inclined, and if you don't mind
We add spice to your life, time after time
And think about times, where he's a long laster
We rock our rhymes for the Jam-Master.
"Jam Master Jammin," from the album "King of Rock," 1985

Police are investigating the shooting death of Jam Master Jay, the DJ of the legendary rap trio Run-DMC. Jam Master Jay, 37, who was shot in the head and killed Wednesday night around 7:30 p.m. in a Queens recording studio. Another man, Urieco Rinco, 25, was shot in the leg and taken to a hospital, according to police. No arrests have been made in the case.

Fans of the group gathered outside the studio Wednesday night and Thursday to pay their respects. "It's like one of the Beatles died," said fan Ronald Williams. "They were the pioneers of this game as we know it."

Jam Master Jay was born January 21, 1965 as Jason Mizell. He linked up with Run (Joseph Simmons) and DMC (Darryl McDaniels), scratching turntables for the two rappers who had just graduated from high school. A year later, in 1983, the group released their first single, "It's Like That."

Jam Master Jay, whose innovative turntable scratching helped the rap group Run-DMC break into the pop music mainstream, will be remembered as a pioneer and groundbreaker by everyone who experienced them. Run-DMC was also the first rap group to be nominated for a Grammy, and the first rappers to have gold, platinum and multi platinum albums.

Unlike other rap groups, Run-DMC avoided feuds with other rappers. Run is an ordained minister, DMC overcame alcoholism, and Jam Master Jay was a married father of three children. Any possible link between Jay's death and a rap war was dismissed by Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam records, Run-DMC's original label, and the brother of Joseph Simmons.

"They represented everything good and positive about hip-hop," said Russell Simmons in a statement. "Before the media rushes to attribute this to East Coast - West Coast violence, they should examine Run-DMC's two decades of contributions and Jam Master Jay's personal character," he said. "This has nothing more to do with so-called East Coast-West Coast violence than the snipers in Washington did."

Right before the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards in August, Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC, said that the group were going to back to the studio and on the road for an album and tour in commemoration of their 20th anniversary.

"These are our Beatles," Public Enemy's Chuck D told The New York Times. Public Enemy had paid tribute to Jam Master Jay in a song, with Chuck D rapping, "Run-DMC first said a DJ could be a band."

RIP Jam Master Jay