Jam Master Jay

By now you surely have heard and somewhat processed the sad news regarding the murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay. At presstime, the crime remained unsolved, but its senselessness and impact continue to resonate. Even those who are not hip hop-oriented jocks can understand the impact that Jam Master Jay had on DJing as a whole.

By now you surely have heard and somewhat processed the sad news regarding the murder of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay. At presstime, the crime remained unsolved, but its senselessness and impact continue to resonate.

Even those who are not hip hop-oriented jocks can understand the impact that Jam Master Jay had on DJing as a whole. Through Run-DMC’s songs, videos and live performances, Jam Master Jay – perhaps more than any other DJ – carried DJ culture from the streets and clubs into America’s living rooms. He inspired a generation of DJs and music fans alike.
In a tribute to Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, the man to whom the DJ and music industries owes much, DJ Times garnered responses from DJs the world over. They offered their view of Jay’s lasting legacy, explained how he inspired them and offered thoughts on his passing. We hope that anyone who reads this tribute understands that it was done with an enormous amount of love and respect for the man. R.I.P. JMJ.
Carl Cox,
Intec Records,
Horsham, England:
This is a man who made it as a DJ in one of the biggest rap bands in the world, who was still doing what he loved to do – making music, playing live for such a long time. He showed people that he had the love and talent to keep doing what he was doing.
Thoughts? I think this is a crying shame that this great talent had his life taken away so suddenly. He will be missed by me & many others.
“Humpty” Vission,
PowerTools, LA:
Jam Master Jay is a legend. I don’t care if you spin house, trance, breaks or hip hop, Jam Master May has affected your life.
Inspiration? Jay was the first DJ I saw on TV – cutting, scratching, mixing. He brought the art of a DJ to the next level. He was also a very big part of the beats that they made, which opened the door for many DJs like myself to get involved on the production tip.
Thoughts? God bless the man who blessed us with his passion for the DJ culture.
Josh Wink,
Ovum Recordings,
A positive entertainer & role model for DJs, non-DJs & all musical fans.
Inspiration? He stayed true to his dreams, ideas & values. He was influential as a producer/DJ who was very talented even though he wasn’t always in the “front” limelight, as an MC is. He rocked my stereo & turntables when I was a teenager, a very important time for me & most teens.
Thoughts? Tragic & horrible.
Rob Swift,
The X-ecutioners,
His biggest contribution was his involvement in The DJ Academy, a school in Soho where he taught younger kids how to DJ. Although his accomplishments ranged on many levels, physically passing the art of turntable manipulating to eager-to-learn kids is the most meaningful thing Jay did.
Inspiration? Yes, because he served as an example of what the true role of a DJ should be in a group. The heartbeat of Run-DMC was Jam Master Jay.
Thoughts? The music community lost a pioneer, a legend & a teacher.
Bad Boy Bill,
Mix Connection,
Jay will be remembered as the first DJ to be a vital part of a group. He made being a DJ cool and important & he was respected for his contributions to the music as a performance DJ & for his production in the studio.
Inspiration? Absolutely. He was someone I looked up to. I remember going to a Run-DMC concert when I was just starting out DJing & I was blown away by the entire show, but I always was focusing on Jay & how he was the foundation of the group. That really put the importance of the DJ into perspective for me.
Thoughts? Tragic & very sad to have his life cut short. He was in his studio when it happened, so I know he was doing what he loved to the end.
Mr. C,
The End, London:
His contribution to dance & hip hop was monumental. Without Jay and the like, none of us would be where we are today. He’ll be sadly missed.
Inspiration? I was into hip hop as a kid & drew much inspiration from Jay & Run-DMC. They influenced my rap style – in the early ’80s, I was a rapper – which led me onto greater things.
Thoughts? Deepest condolences go to all who know this great man. When is the USA going to review its policy on firearms? Get a grip!
Scott Hardkiss,
She/God Within, NYC:
He single-handedly pretty much created the entire DJ industry, not as far as his technical innovations or being the first to do it, but as far as bringing the whole concept to the people worldwide. He showed everyone you could have a one-man band – an entire rhythm section who used two record players to play all the drums, bass, guitars, keyboards & percussion – and the sound that he brought to the group of just the stripped-down beats with stabs of guitar infused hip-hop with the energy of rock & we all know where that led to.
Inspiration? Jay & Bambaataa were it for me. I would not be doing it without them, no-way. When I started DJing in the early ’80s I used to listen to those lines, “He’s Jam Master Jay, the big beat blasta, he gets better cuz he knows he hasta, in ’84 he’ll be a little fasta, and only practice makes a real Jam-Masta” over and over again & I believed it. That song “Jam Master Jay” made him sound like Elvis or something. Also later seeing them do it live & how a DJ could rock a whole arena blew my mind further.
Thoughts? I’m totally heartbroken that Jay was taken from us & I think the whole incident reflects really badly on a country where the gun culture is so prevalent. John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, the list goes on – these are artists for God’s sake.
Dean Coleman,
Roland Corp.,
I think it’s very sad. My thoughts go out to his family and friends. Run-DMC truly showed the world we are all more alike than different and we are one human race.
Tim Fielding,
Journeys By DJ,
He was the original hip-hop DJ. I think his legacy is too great too define, but personally speaking, whenever I need to remind myself that rock music is black music, I think of Run-DMC.
Inspiration? When I was growing up, he was the first DJ I heard who had a hit with a cut-up record. He showed what could be done with decks and samples.
Thoughts? Why can’t we live together?
MixMaster Mike,
Asphodel, LA:
Jam Master Jay will forever live on through the timeless music he has created. His stage presence & his ability to rock crowds will remain an inspiration to myself & to all those who continue to live the hip-hop culture
Derrick Carter,
Classic Recordings,
I think Jay was someone, that by being out there & always trying to rock the show, put the music first & the BS last.
Inspiration? Of course, who doesn’t remember freaking out on “It’s Like That” when it first came out? He was rockin’ it when I was a little kid. Plus, he provided us young black kids with a prototype of how to kick it off. With me not growing up in The Bronx or being in NYC, he was one of the first superstar DJs I knew of, putting it down a long time before a lot of these cats even knew what was up.
Thoughts? Other than that the death of anyone is a tragic thing to their loved ones, I think it’s truly terrible when violence robs us of the few people who have helped to make our world a better place to live in – JMJ-R.I.P.
DJ Skilz,
American Audio/
Club Rio, Las Vegas:
Jam Master Jay was the one & only, there is no other. The DJ and hip-hop industries wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for this legend.
Inspiration? Jam Master Jay was the man who motivated me to move forward in my career. Throughout my life I would play Run-DMC everywhere I go. I would play Run-DMC tapes in my car all the time after school driving home – nothing beats “Peter Piper” in a car system. To this very day, I still use Run-DMC demos for American Audio.
Thoughts? It just breaks my heart to know that Jam Master Jay will no longer be with us. His death was a big blow to the DJ industry. DJs all over the world are affected by this tragedy.
Allen Jeffrey,
For The Record,
Yo, I cried when I heard the news. Even if you didn’t know him personally, you felt his presence in your life. His aura was that if you had seen him, you knew him. He showed all of us to never give up, to take chances. If the musical creation is inside you, let the world be a part of it.
Inspiration? Yes sir, no doubt! He was the most influential, inspirational & recognizable DJ on earth in my book. His inspiration and influence crossed any genre of music, but first and foremost Jam Master Jay as a human being was the coolest, most down-to-earth brother you’d meet. He never once forgot his family and friends. He wasn’t afraid to experiment with music as an ever-changing element. As a musician he fused different music styles that people never thought would marry & rocked it! His showmanship, technique, personality, generosity, the ability to play to any audience, and truly have fun wherever or whenever he traveled. His innovative turntable scratching helped all DJs. He never compromised his love for his craft.
Thoughts? God rest his soul & may he rock the angels in heaven with his music! Please let the madness end, Lord.
Jason Ojeda,
Hicksville, NY:
He made people understand the hip-hop street culture & see that these breakdancing kids were not thugs, but young people just being artists, not with a paint brush and canvas, but with cut-up pieces of vinyl & Adidas with fat laces.
Inspiration? For me, personally he was a huge inspiration. I was a hip-hop DJ first, so he was truly the pioneer & first major DJ in the community. He was the one all of us looked up to.
Thoughts? For me it hurts. Hopefully, some younger artists will see what Run-DMC accomplished without being violent, using profanity, or calling women names. That’s why I stopped playing hip hop. To me, Run-DMC equaled fun.
DJ Crash,
Barfly, LA:
Jay’s biggest contribution was style, his ability to mix, learn & teach others his skills just by playing. Without Jay there would not be a Run-DMC – he was the final piece to their puzzle. Think about all the firsts – first rap Grammy, etc. Jay’s cuts help to revitalize Aerosmith. Jay wasn’t just helping the DJ culture; he helped to form the entire dance culture.
Inspiration? Definitely. I knew Jason. He was always intrigued by my use of the digital mix & wondered why I switched. But he kept an ear open while I spun. I started DJing when their first album came out. So, yeah, this guy meant a lot to me. I’ve never stopped playing his music.
Thoughts? What can you say when a legend passes?
Danny “C” Coniglio,
Records, NYC:
Run-DMC were true innovators. They were doing things that were unheard of for that time. They followed their dream, and did what they wanted to do. They took hip hop to an international level. Jay made the DJ a viable part of a group. His legacy will live in every record that people have sampled and will sample.
Inspiration? I am a DJ first and foremost. Before I became a record promoter, I was a DJ, who played all of Run-DMC’s records. I can remember watching their movies & trying to scratch like Jay. I actually have an Adidas Run-DMC sweatshirt that I am now going to have mounted and framed.
Thoughts? It is very sad anytime you hear of a person passing & even sadder to lose a person to violence. JMJ was a man who promoted good will & positive things.
DJ Phenix,
DJ/producer, NYC:
Jay showed the world that being a DJ can be a respectable & lucrative profession.
Inspiration? Yes, I spun hip hop in my early DJ career & breakdanced at the Funhouse. I would battle other breakdancers to most of Run-DMC’s hits & having Jam Master Jay as their DJ inspired me to be a DJ.
Thoughts? It’s a loss as a DJ & as a human being.
Danny Williams,
Club Paradise,
Chattanooga, Tenn.:
He help lead the way for DJs in rap bands – they combined rap & rock. Now DJs are in rock bands as well. He broke onto MTV when there was no rap on MTV. To this day, I remember seeing their videos & thinking, “Wow, a DJ not a VJ on MTV!”
Inspiration? Along with Grandmaster Flash & The Beasties, Jam Master Jay was a huge influence. I went out & bought my first mismatched pair of plastic belt drives and my Radio Shack headphones and mixer. Shortly after I found myself DJing at a friend’s house parties then moved on to my junior high & skating rink parties. Without their influence, I would be DJing on some radio station being a button pusher. I’m glad he led me into the nightclub and mobile DJ business.
Thoughts? Jay’s loss is tremendous. I know he had lots of beats left in him. In my opinion he was the John Lennon of rap.
YogaFrog & QBert,
Thud Rumble,
Honolulu, Hawaii:
Jay reinforced to us the importance of teaching the DJ arts to the youth & future DJ/musicians of tomorrow. Our SkratchCon events now have found a newfound passion & commitment to continue his legacy. Jay’s presence & influence will be stronger in his passing more than ever before for the future Mozarts and A-Traks of tomorrow.
Inspiration? To us growing up, Run-DMC was the first sounds of hip hop. It was the most fascinatin