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"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, and a dear friend of mine. I loved him. I will miss him. He is irreplaceable."
——Russell Simmons
JAM MASTER JAY MOURNED
BY RAP COMMUNITY
Legendary Run DMC Turntable Pioneer Shot Down in His Own Recording Studio, Death Raises Questions
The murder of Run DMC’s legendary DJ Jam Master Jay aka Jason Mizell has caused tremors inside the rap community.

The 37-year-old husband and father of three was beloved by hip-hop heads, who acknowledged his role in creating such rap-rock fusion classics as "Rock Box" and "Walk This Way," the groundbreaking ’86 collaboration with Aerosmith.

Russell Simmons, whose brother Joe (Run) originally founded the rap trio with Darryl McDaniels and Jay, said: "For nearly 20 years, Run DMC has been the closest thing to gospel artists that the contemporary music community has had. They talked about God and their higher selves, the importance of staying away from drugs, and generally inspirational and uplifting subject matter. They represented everything good and positive about hip-hop."

The fact that Run DMC were the antithesis of gangsta rappers made the shooting of Mizell all the more puzzling. The DJ, who planned on performing at tonight’s Washington Wizards game in DC, was shot in the head yesterday at 7:30 p.m. (ET) while in his own Queens recording studio. Reportedly, the assailant was let into the second-floor studio by buzzer and fought his way through the crowded studio to target Mizell, who died immediately, while a second person, Urieco Rincon, shot in the ankle, was rushed to a nearby hospital. The shooter is still at large.

Run DMC, signed to Arista several years ago, put out a greatest hits album last month.

"These are our Beatles," Public Enemy frontman Chuck D told the N.Y. Times.

Mizell’s friends and fans gathered near the studio, located above a restaurant and a check-cashing business. The crowd included many from the Hollis section of Queens, where the members of the group grew up. Simmons and McDaniels started out rapping at house parties, then invited Mizell to join the group.

Mizell was immortalized in the trio's song "Jam Master Jay": "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."

Run DMC was one of the first rap groups ever played on MTV, with "Walk This Way." Raising Hell, the 1986 album for Corey Robbins' Profile label that included the song, along with "My Adidas" and "It's Tricky," sold more than 3 million copies, the first hip-hop album to go multi-platinum.

N.Y. radio station DJ Doctor Dre, a friend of Mizell’s since the mid-‘80s, 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."

Mizell often let local musicians record for free at the studio, remaining in Queens to give back to the community, which made his murder even more puzzling.

Added 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, and a dear friend of mine. I loved him. I will miss him. He is irreplaceable… This has nothing to do with so-called East Coast/West Coast violence than the sniper murders in Washington did."

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