Ten years ago we lost one of Hip Hop’s dopest deejays and true pioneers, Jason Mizell aka Jam Master Jay of the legendary group Run DMC He was shot in killed in his studio in Queens. Like so many who have been murdered , not just in Hip Hop but in our own community, his murder is still unsolved.. I republishing the piece I wrote the day after his death 10 years ago. Its sadly still relevant today..Please read, reflect and improve.. RIP Jam Master Jay…..(Jan 21 1965- Oct 30-2002)
I’m not sure what exactly can be said at this time…All sorts of emotions are whirling inside my head and to be honest its hard to believe Jam Master Jay [Jason Mizell] is dead…Dude was 37 years old, had a wife and 3 kids.. I believe his oldest son is 15.. And if you ever met Jay, you knew he was a cool cat.. He didn’t bring a gangsta persona to the table. He wasn’t the type of cat who needed a bunch of body guards when he walked down the street. As far as I knew he wasn’t living foul, causing drama or somehow instigating any sort of ‘rap feud’ which are all but too frequent..
Jam Master Jay was a cool cat and it’s for that reason I don’t wanna do what we always seem to do when we encounter violent death….I don’t wanna simply ‘keep it moving’ and act like him being killed is no big deal..It is a big deal. I don’t wanna put a good face forward and stick the emotions of yet another violent death of another brotha in the back of my mind. There’s been one too many deaths and I no longer have room in the back of my mind. I don’t wanna fall back on old tired clich s and say things like ‘death is a part of life’ or ‘when it’s your time to go its your time to go’. That don’t cut it for me anymore. I don’t wanna act like this doesn’t bother me cause it really does. . I don’t wanna give into this unwritten code among us as Black men to not be phased by violent deaths because it’s an all too common occurrence..
I don’t wanna hold a candle, pour liquor on a curb or go on the radio station and play all my Run DMC records and rebroadcast all my old Run DMC interviews. I don’t want Jay’s death to be reduced to yet another tribute. It seems like in the past two or three years we’ve been doing a hell of a lot of tributes. In the past couple of year alone we’ve lost Big Pun and DJ Screw out of Houston to heart attacks. Too Poetic of the Grave Diggaz passed from cancer, but he courageously recorded his last album while he had the disease. We lost Aaliyah to a plane crash and Left Eye of TLC to a car crash. We lost San Francisco pioneering rapper Cougnut and San Jose’s D-Mac who died together in a car crash just days before the Sept 11th attacks. Days after the attack we lost Boogie Knight of the group The Boogie Boys. Many of us are still grieving from last moth’s the sudden death of Money Ray of the Cold Crush Brothers. He was diagnosed with cancer in August and died 5 weeks later.