31 October 2011

Pioneer Series: Jam Master Jay

"The turntables might wobble, but they don't fall down!"

They don't fall down because the man with the plan behind the stands is none other than Jam Master Jay, the highly favored and successful DJ for the groundbreaking hip-hop group Run-DMC.

Run-DMC are a Pioneer Series for another day, but today we're highlighting JMJ, nine years after his unfortunate and untimely execution in a Jamaica, Queens, New York studio. A handful of suspects have been gathered, but nothing concrete in the way of finally solving his murder.

Jason Mizell, as he was born, was an instrumentalist from a very young age, playing the trumpet, guitar and drums, amongst other instruments. He became interested in deejaying after his family moved to Queens from Brooklyn at the age of 13, perfecting his art into the late hours of the night.

JMJ, initially performing under the name Jazzy Jase, played a part in a few garage bands and even DJ'd at some neighborhood parties before hooking up with Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels  to form the historic group. Managed by Run's older brother, Russell, Run-DMC went on to break numerous records and even start a few, all assisted with a heavy hand by Jam Master Jay.

Known to be nearly free of ego, selfishness and guile, Jay was instrumental in providing the hardcore sound that helped to propel Run-DMC to the top of the charts around the world. Jay was an original DJ, using his skills on the "ones and twos" to produce an edge that helped push hip-hop into the mainstream, influencing many DJs after him and showing people all over that hip-hop was not only a genre to move and groove to, but also one to be taken very seriously.

In addition to being instrumental in the development of his group, Jam Master Jay was also heavily responsible for the creation of Onyx (Slam!) and Public Enemy (Terminator X) as well as kickstarting 50 Cent's (Wanksta, which JMJ produced) career.

Speaking of 50, there are many unconfirmed rumors surrounding JMJ's murder. Some say he was killed as a result of unpaid debts, some say as a direct result of his affiliation with 50 Cent, who was rising quickly in the ranks of the rap world as a trouble maker and beef instigator. Regardless of the reason, the facts point to Mr. Jason Mizell being executed, a .40 caliber weapon fired into his head at close blank range on October 30, 2002.

His death left a gaping hole in the hip-hop world and in his family, shocking so many people who knew Jay as both a severely talented and compassionate person, caring not only about his loved ones, but about the world of music as well. Jay had founded the Scratch DJ Academy earlier in 2002 to provide a place of learning and education for those who truly wanted to learn the art of deejaying and production. That's the type of man that he was, and that's the man that we've lost.

It's been nine years and his loss is still felt, both in the arena of hip-hop and abroad. His influences still ring through new and old artists alike, all wanting to bring the same talent and skill to their careers, and hoping to be a part of the next Run-DMC. However, there will only be one Run-DMC...and one Jam Master Jay.

JMJ, Best In The Mix salutes you, and honors your memory.

"Goddamn, that DJ made my day!"

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