Saturday , May 21 2022

More On Jay

Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay (Mizell) was murdered last night. See reports here and here. Even though he has been around for 20 years, he was only 37.

Here are tributes from the Run-DMC website:

    I’ll never forget that fabulous concert from front row seats in Washington DC in 1986: RUN-DMC, the Beastie Boys and LLCool Jay. I proudly sported my RUN DMC concert T-shirt, which I still have, and learned all the words to all the songs, which I proudly played on my ghetto blaster for many years. As a white girl, it was part of my discovery and appreciation of black culture and the common ground of some of the friendships that I built with black people, with whom I shared enjoyment of the music, and eventually many other things. May Jay remain an inspiration for us all- a man with vision, creativity, generosity, and talent, one who condemned and spoke against violence, and was taken away from us, and his family, far too soon.

    Nina J. Miller
    San Francisco, CA

    Run DMC introduced me to a whole other world, and in many ways guided me in who I am. Hip-Hop was such a source of inspiration and positive energy. I just heard the news on the BBC. Our family will be praying for all of Jay’s family and friends.

    Jay, your legacy is one of beauty, beats, love, hope and funk. You were the King. May God bless you forever, and grant us the wisdom to carry on your legacy. Maybe one day we can bring hip-hop back to its roots. Until then, I’m gonna dig through my crates for your old funky tapes and mourn a man who brought joy to my soul.

    -Paul Rodriguez

    I heard about Jaye on the news tonight and the only thing I could do was cry. I felt like I had lost one of my family members. I grew up on Run-DMC and Jam Master Jaye. They were the beginning of hip hop in my eyes. His was a senseless death.

    my thoughts go out to his family and the run dmc family. i was in shock when i heard the news and was deeply sad, me being a dj for the past 15 years +,
    i feel a void in this industry and in my life for i grew up on run dmc and jam master jay. i meet them a couple times threw mutual freinds and just in general threw the business. and the energy they gave and what their presence gave when thoose 3 guys walked in a room i dont think words can ever describe
    i awalys looked up to the whole run dmc camp and what they gave this industry,this culture and this world

    please update and give a segment of this site to jam master jay

    if you can maybe one day just forward this to run or dmc or anyone in there camp

    so they can know

    jam master jay
    still lives on


    I have just heard the news of “J’s” death, as I was listening to the news of the incident in New York, tears were running down my cheek. As a white boy growing up in the 80’s listening to Run DMC, I learned alot about black culture through friends that I met because of the music that we shared and going to rap concerts with mynew friends. I was then able to open up the narrow minds of whites around me thus causing a better world for me and my friends to grow up in. I am truly saddened by this tragedy andreally wish that DMC had played in Raleigh, NC at the recent Aerosmith and Kid Rock concert because I would have been able to see them one more time.

    With heavy heart, I give my blessings to all those in Jay’s family and to all DMC fans out there!

    I send my deepest condolences to jay’s family and to the group. It’s such a tradgedy that we have these crazy people in the world with all that’s going on I feel so hurt. I’m a big fan of run dmc and for this to happen really hitss home there like family I grew up listening to there music and now we have another fallen angel.

    love, Tiffany K.

    Run DMC and Jam Master Jay have been the soundtrack to my life. I’m too destroyed to say anything else. This is my worst nightmare.


    My heart goes out to the entire Run-DMC family: Run, DMC, their respective families, etc. Jason will be VERY missed!

    The very first live show I ever attended was the Together Forever tour featuring Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys (Madison Square Garden, NYC 1985). After hearing “Sucker MC’s”, I never looked back.

    R.I.P., JMJ!

    Bigg Russ

    I have no real idea what to say right now but I want to get some of my feelings out about this. I have been listening to RUN D.M.C. as long as I can remember. “Walk This Way” was my first favorite song. I still listen to it every time its on the air. I feel privileged that I have seen Run D.M.C. in concert. The world is a darker place tonight.

    R.I.P. Jam Master Jay

    My heart goes out to Run, D.M.C., and all of their family and friends. This was such a senseless act of violence perpetrated upon a great talent and a great man.

    I hope you are in a better place now Jason Mizell/Jam Master Jay. The world is worse off with you no longer in it.


    Hey, Sad day. Of all the people to get caught in that sh*t. What a shame. It’s like Rap has lost their Beatle.


    The McCall family love the Run DMC family. -Charmaine

    The Run-DMC brought alot respect to the African American community consoles to RUN DMC, DEF Jam. -Douglas

    I am sending my sympathy out to RUN DMC House and Russell Simmons….Love and Peace from The McCalls in The Bronx, New York.

More from AP:

    Mizell served as the platinum-selling group’s disc jockey, providing background for singers Joseph Simmons, better known as Run, and Darryl McDaniels, better known as DMC.

    The group is widely credited with helping bring hip-hop into music’s mainstream, including the group’s smash collaboration with Aerosmith (news – web sites) on the 1980s standard “Walk This Way” and hits like “My Adidas” and “It’s Tricky.”

    “We always knew rap was for everyone,” Mizell said in a 2001 interview with MTV. “Anyone could rap over all kinds of music.”

    Mizell is the latest in a line of hip-hop artists to fall victim to violence. Rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur were murdered within seven months of each other in 1996 and 1997 – crimes that some believe were the result of an East Coast-West Coast rap war.

    But Run DMC and their songs were never about violence. The group promoted education and unity.

    In 1986, the trio said they were outraged by the rise of fatal gang violence in the Los Angeles area. They called for a day of peace between warring street gangs.

    “This is the first town where you feel the gangs from the minute you step into town to the time you leave,” Mizell said at the time.

    Mizell’s friends and fans gathered near the studio, located above a restaurant and a check-cashing business. The crowd included many people from the Hollis section of Queens, where the members of Run DMC grew up.

    “They’re the best. They’re the pioneers in hip hop,” said Arlene Clark, 39, who grew up in the same neighborhood. “They took it to the highest level it could go.”

    Chuck D, the founder of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, blamed record companies and the advertising for perpetuating “a climate of violence” in the rap industry. “When it comes to us, we’re disposable commodities,” he said.

    Doctor Dre, a New York radio station DJ who had been friends with Mizell since the mid-1980s, said, “This is not a person who went out looking for trouble. … He’s known as a person that builds, that creates and is trying to make the right things happen.”

    Leslie Bell, 33, said the band members often let local musicians record for free at the studio, and had remained in Queens to give back to the community.

    “He is one great man,” said Bell. “As they say, the good always die young.”

    Publicist Tracy Miller said Mizell and McDaniels had planned to perform in Washington, D.C., on Thursday at a Washington Wizards basketball game. Mizell had performed on Tuesday in Alabama, she said.

    Mizell was married and had three children, she said.

    Run DMC released a greatest-hits album earlier this year. In 2001, the rappers produced “Crown Royal,” breaking an eight-year silence.

And a look at Jay’s musical importance:

    Jam Master Jay’s sonic experiments with spacious drum breaks and grinding guitar riffs helped make Run-DMC the first hip-hop group to break into mainstream music.

    He joined 20 years ago with Joseph “Run” Simmons and Daryl “DMC” McDaniels to form the group that would be more responsible than any other for spreading the idea that one person — a disc jockey — could provide the entire musical backdrop for a song.

    “These are our Beatles,” Public Enemy frontman Chuck D told The New York Times on Wednesday, hours after the 37-year-old was shot to death at a recording studio near the neighborhood where the group grew up. Chuck D had once rapped, “Run-DMC first said a DJ could be a band.”

    DJs like Jay, whose real name was Jason Mizell, became adept at scratching vinyl records forward and backward in time with a beat, working one turntable with each hand, to create new sounds the original artists never imagined. The rise of the technique enabled thousands of people to express themselves musically even if they lacked the instruments or resources to put together a full band.

    “We always knew rap was for everyone,” Jay said in a 2001 interview with MTV. “Anyone could rap over all kinds of music.”

    The three members of the group grew up middle-class homes in the Hollis neighborhood of New York’s Queens borough. Simmons and McDaniels started out rapping at parties, and later invited Mizell to form a group with them.

    Simmons’ brother, Russell, had formed a small label with producer Rick Rubin and signed early hip-hop stars including Kurtis Blow. The new group Joseph Simmons had formed with McDaniels and Mizell soon joined the roster.

    While many early ’80s hip-hop artists rapped over clean dance beats, Run-DMC and Rubin chopped up riffs from classic rock records for a grittier sound. The risk paid off with several rock-influenced hits, including “Rock Box” and “King of Rock.”

    But the sound finally exploded with audiences when the group remade the Aerosmith (news – web sites) hit “Walk This Way,” creating hip-hop’s biggest crossover success of the time.

    Many fans and artists cite the song as the first rap record they ever heard, and rap and rock groups alike continue trying to recapture the song’s mix of raw hooks and big beats punctuated by half-shouted lyrics.

    Though rap videos were rare on MTV at the time, “Walk This Way,” with its elaborate story line of a comical grudge match between rappers and rockers, was a constant fixture on the station for months. The members of the group made an unforgettable impression with their black outfits and hats and white Adidas sneakers.

    “Raising Hell,” the 1986 record that included “Walk This Way,” “My Adidas,” and “It’s Tricky,” sold more than 3 million copies, becoming the first rap album to go multiplatinum. The group’s self-titled debut album in 1984 was the first rap album to go gold.

    Mizell wasn’t the first to manipulate records by scratching them in time under a needle. But he did become one of hip-hop’s best known and most respected DJs through his deft scratching and the group’s spirited promotion of his skills.

    A song called “Jam Master Jay” announced, “We got the master of a disco scratch/there’s not a break that he can’t catch. … Behind the turntables is where he stands/Then there is the movement of his hands/So when asked who’s the best, y’all should say/Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay.”

    The group’s cheerfully competitive wordplay had always promoted education and clean-living, but members were nonetheless linked to gang violence when fighting broke out on several stops of their national tour in support of “Raising Hell.”

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected],, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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