Nelly, Chuck D Remember Jay

Musicians speak out on life and career of slain DJ

November 1, 2002 12:00 AM ET

While the music community is still reeling from the Wednesday night shooting death of Jam Master Jay, some artists took the time to speak to Rolling Stone about the man and his immense musical legacy. Jam Master Jay (born Jason Mizell) was the DJ for Run-D.M.C., the group responsible for bringing hip-hop to a mainstream audience. Mizell was thirty-seven years old and is survived by his wife and three children.

"Jay was the real deal, a street kid, a tough guy, a loveable guy," Public Enemy frontman Chuck D said. "Run-D.M.C. is like the Beatles to me. Jam Jay was the epitome of a group DJ. He would not try to over shine his rappers. He's the heart and soul of Run-D.M.C., and orchestrated probably the best hip-hop show of all time."

"Run-D.M.C. represented everything good and positive about hip-hop," added their longtime producer Russell Simmons. "Jam Master Jay was a longtime family man and one of the founders of the group that knocked down all of the doors for hip-hop."

Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins, who sang, produced and co-wrote a song on the rap trio's last album, Crown Royal, said, "Jay was the forward momentum in Run-DMC. He's what kept the band together. Between Run and Dwayne he was that guy pushing things. When I first heard 'Rock Box' it was the strangest thing I'd ever heard . . . They shaped so much of what the musical landscape is today."

"Jay being from Queens and me being from Queens, this really touched home," rapper and former Lost Boyz member Mr. Cheeks said. "Run-D.M.C. started this from 'Rock Box' on, and everyone in Queens and wherever else, trying to get in the music game, wanted to be like them. He will be deeply missed. My prayers go out to his wife and family."

Nelly also referenced Run-D.M.C.'s legacy, saying, "Jam Master Jay is a part of hip-hop history. Run-D.M.C. are legends and they opened the door for a lot of people, including myself. We [St. Lunatics] were shocked when we heard the news . . . We send our condolences out to his family and friends. My Dirty will be missed."

Fans have placed flowers, candles, notes and an even an Adidas sneaker -- a reference to the Run-D.M.C. hit "My Adidas" -- outside the Queens, New York, studio where Mizell was killed. Police have yet to charge anyone with his murder.

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