Jam Master Jay: Remembered by Pete Rock, Premier, & others…

Tomorrow (October 30) will more the eight anniversary of Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell. The New York, NY native was one-third of iconic Queens rap group Run-DMC, alongside Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. While Jay played the role of DJ, his impact and influence within the group and hip-hop in general was much more than a background player.

A pioneer on many levels, JMJ co-founded one of the earliest hip-hop clothing lines with Walker Wear and headed up his own boutique label Jam Master Jay Records, which had a hand in the early careers of acts like Onyx and 50 Cent. Jay’s musical genius will be what he’s most remembered for as he and Run-DMC sold millions of records worldwide, influenced a generation of rap fans, and crossed musical barriers with their foray into a rock sound, which was recognized last year as the trio was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In honor of all things Jay, XXL broke into the archives of our sister publication SCRATCH to republish a special tribute piece, where Pete Rock, DJ Premier, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Tony Touch share their fondest memories of Jason Mizell.

Originally published in the November/December 2005 issue of SCRATCH


“Before I came into the music business, I was a big fan of Run-DMC. I looked forward to seeing their videos. They would make me go crazy in the crib and run out to the record store and buy their singles. When ‘Sucker MC’s’ first dropped, I had to have it. I actually stole $20 from my mom to go buy that shit. [Jam Master Jay] was a big influence to me [when] I was coming up in the DJ world. I looked up to a lot of DJs, but Jam Master Jay was official. If it wasn’t for him, ‘Down With the King’ probably wouldn’t have happened.

Doing a record with those guys was, ‘Wow, I can’t believe [Run-DMC] are in my basement.’ It bugged me out. These are muthafuckas who I used to run to the record store to buy whatever they were doing and now they’re here. It was a big exciting roller coaster ride for me. ‘Down With the King’ almost didn’t happen because Russell Simmons was shitting on it and didn’t really like it. Jam Master Jay was fighting for it and I was trying to tell Russell, ‘This is the new shit. This is a new era, the 90’s. This is what’s popping right now in the 90’s, Pete Rock. Pete Rock is what’s happening.’ And [Russell] couldn’t grasp it, so Jay made the song happen. He convinced people the song would do well and then it comes out and goes platinum.

I got love for [Run-DMC] for giving me the opportunity to work with them. That moved me a lot. When I did a record with them, that’s when I really knew in my career, in my mind and in my life that I was official in the hip-hop game.”

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  • Blog-ologist

    Now, only if the people who claimed they loved JMJ would do the right thing and turn in the killer(s)…Its not snitching; its called doing the right thing!!!! Walk this way!!! Can we get the DJ back on the scene like that again?


    Rest in peace…celebrate his life,,bringing in the killer wont bring back the GREAT JMJ

  • Simple like ABC, 123

    Two Turntables & a Mixer =
    Electric Guitar, Bass guitar & Drums.

  • Blog-ologist

    It may not bring him back, but it would bring closure to his family. Its not about bringing him back, its about bringing the people to justice. And with that thinking, you will always have killers walking amongst us. We need to take accountability for I hood. You know why their not as much violence committed in a nice neighborhood? Because you know that old lady is going to tell everything and they probably have a neighborhood watch. JMJ deserves J.U.S.T.I.C.E!!!!!

  • adrian smith birmingham england

    r.i.p.jam master jay run dmc 4 ever the g.o.a.t.

  • Just 4 All Esq.

    There is always a witness,we just live in a society of cowards. COWARDS I say, the reason that people don’t speak up (snitching you call it) is because people are scared to def! Shook.

  • Just 4 All Esq.

    There is always a witness,we just live in a society of cowards. COWARDS I say, the reason that people don’t speak up (snitching you call it) is because people are scared to def! Shook…

  • Q461

    RIP JMJ..one of the greatest ever. In fact all these cats are icons, pete rock, primo, jazzy jeff, tony touch. Down with the King was such a dope track. Classic.

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  • kalluminati

    Obviously all you talkin bout turnin in dude or w.e live in them nice neiborhoods u talkin bout. cuz we dont trust cops, an we dont talk 2 fuckin cops, ever. what needs 2 happen if it hasn’t al ready is his boys needa blow dudes head off that got jmj. what kinda hiphop needs a mufuckin police. u think jay could relax in all these ghettos cuz he talked to cops??? hell naw! i dont think he’d want that. get da fuck outa here u fuckin rat motherfuckers, hiphop don’t want u.

  • John Cochran

    This was somebody’s father,son,uncle,brother you idiot. Everyone deserves justice. And no not street justice where somebody kills that person on the streets, but he needs to do time and pay for what he’s done. Fuck that “stop snitching” shit. This is America, we live by laws. Go live in the mountains with binladen n em nigga.


    Funny all them dudes talkin about stop snitchin ..would be the first to roll over on their boys if they was facin life over somethin their boy did. Be a fuckin man. Big, Jay and Pacs killers will never be found because of losers who say stop snitchin.Their is a big difeerence between snitchin and bringin a killer to justice ruined the lives of a cultural icon, the lives of their families and their fans lives.
    Its not like someone is tellin over some dope bein sold or somethin. big fuckin difference.And why should you care it doesnt directly affect you or any one close to you anyway.

    I remember the days of breakin to your music and jammin the tv loud when the videos first came on. Run DMC was one of my favorites from the golden era of Hip Hop and JMJ ill always be sorely missed.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll never forget the time RUN-DMC performed @ The fairgrounds in Middletown Ny. One of the records started skipping, so Jay threw out into the crowd..R.I.P brotha, I miss you.

  • DJ mIsseda Flow

    I’ll never forget the time RUN-DMC Performed @ The fairgrounds in Middletown NY. One of the records skipped & Jay threw it out into the crowd,,classic show. R.I.P brotha, I miss you.

  • blog-ologist

    One more thing…i cant be no rat…i never proclaimed to live the street life…snitching is when u and your comrads do a crime and u roll over on your friend to keep from doing your time…Im a civilian. I live by civilian laws. Ur not a snitch or a rat if you bring a killer to justice. The criminal mentality had spilled over to civilians and they think the rules apply to them. If u rob a bank with no mask, and the bank teller points u out. The bank teller is not snitching!!! The teller is a witness. People need to understand the code. If you dont want to talk to police thats fine, but dont turn the people in your community into cowards because you choose not to speak up!!!

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