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DMC Speaks Out on Jay's Death

"They might never catch his killer," rapper says

February 4, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Three months after Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay was murdered in a Queens, New York, recording studio, his death remains a mystery. No suspects have been arrested, and news of the investigation has faded. "It's a shame," says Darryl "DMC" McDaniels. "Look at Tupac and Biggie, and now Jam Master Jay: Every day in the hood you got dying, and it goes unsolved."

A New York Police Department spokesman told Rolling Stone that there are no new developments in the investigation. Initially, police theorized that Jay, born Jason Mizell, may have been killed over debts, or as a result of a botched drug deal. McDaniels says it was Mizell's loyalty to his roots that put him in harm's way: He continued to live in his Hollis, Queens, neighborhood even after Run-DMC became famous. He opened his recording studio in nearby Jamaica, supporting young artists from the area.

"The very thing he was trying to help other people get away from was the thing that killed him," McDaniels says. "No matter how big and famous you get, there's no getting away from the hood. Maybe fifteen people I grew up with got murdered. I have a couple of friends in jail for life. Jay was another one of my homeys that got shot and murdered; he just happened to be Jam Master Jay. I have to take a deep breath and know that they might never catch his killer."

Though McDaniels is worried that the inquiry into the October 30th shooting has stalled, he's more concerned with preserving Jay's legacy. McDaniels has recorded a song called "Missing My Friend" that may feature guest appearances from 50 Cent, Nas and Mary J. Blige. Profits from the single would go to Jay's widow, Terri Mizell, and three sons, Jason Jr., 16, T.J., 11, and Jesse, 7. The boys are also working on a sneaker tribute to their father.

Says McDaniels, "I want to say to whoever did this, 'You didn't really murder Jay. His spirit lives on.'"

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