Today in Hip Hop History: October 30, 2002
Thirteen years ago today, Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC was shot and killed in a recording studio in Jamaica Queens, New York City at the young age of 37. The killer was thought to be Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, but to this day the crime has never been resolved. For his entire life, Jay lived in his childhood neighborhood in Hollis, Queens.
Jam Master Jay helped Run-DMC become one of the biggest hip hop groups to date and is also partly responsible for helping bring hip hop to the mainstream with the unprecedented success of the group. Prior to becoming a part of Run-DMC, Jam Master Jay played bass and drums in several bands.
On Run-D.M.C’s breakthrough album Raising Hell, Jay played keyboards, bass, and live drums in addition to his turntable work. In 1989, Jay started his own record label, Jam Master Jay Records, to which artists such as Onyx, 50 Cent and a few others had joined. The label released Onyx’s classic debut album, Bacdafucup, in 1993.
Jam Master Jay left behind a legacy of one of the most important and influential DJs in hip hop history. The DJ’s skills extended far beyond the turntables themselves, as Jay has been cited as one of the greatest guitars players of all time as well. Gone too young and too soon, Jam Master Jay will always be remembered for his success with Run-DMC and personal skills with several different instruments. RIP Jason William Mizell 1965-2002.