November 7, 2002

Jam Master Jay

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Less than a year ago, I was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and interview the legendary hip-hop pioneer Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) backstage in Bailey Hall before he took his place on-stage, behind his turntables, spinning out beats for the inseparable duo, Run (Joseph Simmons) and DMC (Darryl McDaniels). All together they were Run DMC. Tragically the inseparable trio will never be seen whole again, after Jam Master Jay’s sudden and unexpected murder in his own studio in Queens this past week. A peaceable and caring man, Jam Master Jay was never known to have any troubling connections that could have precipitated such a violent death, and his assailant remains unknown. Throughout the course of his life Jam Master Jay influenced the lives of uncountable fellow artists, friends, and fans — he will be remembered and honored just as passionately as Jam lived his life.

Entering the room with an contagious pre-show energy, Jam Master Jay kindly obliged my request to ask him a few questions for Daze. To say the least, Jay’s renown and stature in the hip-hop community had me intimidated, as my voice cracked with the first question even though I had spent minutes practicing. Jam Master Jay took everything in stride, generously opening up to me as he fixed himself a small dinner. Then he began to roll with the interview, intently rapping on his path to success. Jam’s brimming positivity inflected his answers with the same inspiring character only paralleled in his art. I’ll let the interview speak for itself to honor the legacy of Jam Master Jay.

daze: As much as you were the originators of the rap-rock genre, what do you think of the rap-metal crossover artists, some of whom you performed with on Crown Royal?

Jay: Well I love the way rap and hip-hop has influenced music. It’s just, you know, life goes in cycles. We were hip-hop guys who took some rock n’ roll and blended it cause it was good music, good music is just good music, so I love every way that hip-hop goes now.