Six weeks after Jam Master Jay was murdered in his New York neighborhood of Hollis, Queens, Kid Rock, Public Enemy frontman Chuck D and Grandmaster Flash paid tribute to the slain DJ Run-DMC DJ at the VH1 Big in 2002 Awards. The ad-hoc group meshed together a medley of DMC chestnuts including “Sucker M.C.’s,” “My Adidas,” “You Be Illin’,” “It’s Like That,” and “King of Rock,” as Joe “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels looked on from the audience.
“Their records crossed musical social and cultural boundaries,” said Ice Cube in his introduction to the tribute. “They were also dope as hell. I remember the first time I heard ‘Sucker M.C.’s.’ It was around the time I decided to devote my whole life to hip-hop.”
After the performance — which featured Chuck D and Kid Rock trading verses side-by-side in white shelltoe Adidas, laced and unlaced respectively — Chuck D said that the chance to honor his peer and friend was the principal reason for his appearance at the show. “Kid Rock put together a brilliant medley, seamlessly and I’m just glad to be an accompanying piece to this,” he said.
Chuck D’s performance was somewhat surprising because VH1’s sister station MTV declined to air the Public Enemy video for “Give the Peeps What They Need” this past fall due to a disagreement over the song’s lyrical content. “That was business,” said Chuck D “We’re here today because we feel everybody is trying to do the right thing. It has nothing to do with business today.”
Hosted by Drea de Matteo and Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos, the show was taped at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air on VH1 on December 15th.