Jam Master Jay

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Jam Master Jay
Jam Master Jay.jpg
Jam Master Jay
Background information
Birth name Jason William Mizell
Also known as Jam-Master Jay, DJ Jazzy Jase, Jam Master Funk
Born (1965-01-21)January 21, 1965
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 30, 2002(2002-10-30) (aged 37)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip-hop, golden age hip hop, rap rock
Occupation(s) Disc Jockey, Producer
Instruments Vocals, Turntables, Bass guitar, Drums, Keyboards
Years active 1983–2002
Labels Jam Master Jay, Profile
Associated acts Run–D.M.C.
Chuck D
50 Cent
Website jammasterjay.org

Jason William Mizell (January 21, 1965 – October 30, 2002), better known by his stage name Jam Master Jay, was an American musician and DJ. He was the DJ of the influential hip hop group Run–D.M.C. During the 1980s, Run-D.M.C. became one of the biggest hip-hop groups and are credited with breaking hip-hop into mainstream music.[1][2]

For his skill re-working riffs from classic guitar records, he was ranked No. 10 on Spin's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.[3] On October 30, 2002, while recording new music at his studio in the Jamaica section of Queens, New York City, Mizell was shot and murdered by an unknown assailant.

Early life[edit]

Jason Mizell was born in Brooklyn, New York City,[4] the son of Jesse Mizell and Connie Thompson Mizell[5] (later Connie Mizell-Perry)[6] whose other children are Marvin L. Thompson and Bonita Jones.[5]

At age 3, Jason began playing trumpet. He learned to played bass, guitar, and drums. He performed at his church and in various bands prior to discovering turntablism.[5] After he and his family moved to Hollis, Queens, New York City in 1975, he discovered the turntables and started DJing at the age of 13.[4][5] For a time, he resided in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he was taught to crossfade by turntablism pioneer DJ Def Lou Hauck.[4][7] He caught on quickly because of his musical experience and after a year of DJing he felt that he was good enough to play in front of people.[4][7] Originally calling himself, Jazzy Jase, he attended high school at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens.[5]


He first started playing at parks and later played at bars. He also began throwing small parties around the area.[7] Once he got a pair of Technics 1200s he improved rapidly since he was able to practice at night with headphones on when he was supposed to be sleeping.[7]

Mizell became a DJ because he "just wanted to be a part of the band".[7][8] Prior to joining Run-D.M.C. he played bass and drums in several garage bands.[5] In 1982 he hooked up with Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels just after they graduated from high school and agreed to DJ for them because he wanted to be part of the band.[4][8] On Run-D.M.C's album Raising Hell, Mizell played keyboards, bass, and live drums in addition to his turntable work.[4] Mizell remained in his childhood neighborhood in Hollis, Queens his entire life.

In 1989, Mizell established the label Jam Master Jay Records, which scored a success in 1993 with the band Onyx.[9] He also connected Chuck D with Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin.[citation needed] After achieving relative prominence, Mizell was known to use the alias Jay Gambulos so as to avoid unwanted public attention.[citation needed]

In 2002, Mizell founded the Scratch DJ Academy in Manhattan to "provide unparalleled education and access to the art form of the DJ and producer."[10]

Personal life[edit]

Jam Master Jay was related to the Mizell Brothers, a popular production team for Gary Bartz, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, and others.[citation needed]

On consecutive Christmas holidays, Mizell survived a car accident and a gunshot wound to the leg.[7]

Jam Master Jay was the father of three sons: Jason Mizell Jr. (who performs as DJ Jam Master J'Son), Jesse Mizell, and T.J. Mizell (also a DJ).[5][11][12] and a daughter, Tyra Myricks (born August 1992),[13]


Tribute mural of Jam Master Jay at 5 Pointz, New York City

On October 30, 2002, at 7:30 pm[14] Mizell was shot and killed in a Merrick Boulevard recording studio in Jamaica, Queens. The other person in the room, 25-year-old Urieco Rincon, was shot in the ankle and survived.[9] Following his death, several artists expressed their grief for the loss in the hip hop community and remembered him for his influence on music and the genre.[15] Mizell was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hartsdale, New York.[16]

In 2003, Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a convicted drug dealer and longtime friend of Murder Inc. heads Irv and Chris Gotti, was investigated for targeting Mizell because the DJ defied an industry blacklist of rapper 50 Cent that was imposed because of "Ghetto Qu'ran", a song 50 Cent wrote about McGriff's drug history. [17]

In April 2007, federal prosecutors named Ronald "Tenad" Washington as an accomplice in the murder.[18] Washington also is a suspect in the 1995 murder of Randy "Stretch" Walker, a former close associate of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, who was also murdered.[18] According to court papers filed by the prosecution, Washington "pointed his gun at those present in the studio, ordered them to get on the ground and provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell."[18] However, he was never convicted and no new suspects have been named.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 50 albums that changed music", No. 40: Run D.M.C.: Run D.M.C. (1984), The Observer, July 16, 2006.
  2. ^ The Immortals – The Greatest Artists of All Time: 48) Run–DMC. Rolling Stone. Published April 15, 2004.
  3. ^ 10: Jam Master Jay (Run-DMC)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jam Master Jay
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Allen, Harry (November 5, 2002). "Jam Master Jay, 1965–2002". Village Voice. Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Jam Master Jay - Official Foundation". jammasterjay.info. Jam Master Jay Foundation for Youth, Inc. 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Interview with DJ Times, 2000
  8. ^ a b Run-DMC star, 37, was hip-hop pioneer
  9. ^ a b Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC DJ, Killed In Shooting
  10. ^ Scratch DJ Academy
  11. ^ Cushman, Camille (July 15, 2015). "Getting to Know TJ Mizell, A$AP Ferg's Tour DJ and Son of Jam Master Jay". insomniac.com. Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  12. ^ Lyle, Ashley (October 12, 2016). "Jam Master Jay's Son TJ Mizell Talks 'Growing Up Hip Hop' Season 2 & Being A$AP Ferg's DJ". Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Tyra Myricks". jammasterjay.info. Jam Master Jay Foundation for Youth, Inc. 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  14. ^ Run-DMC DJ slain in recording studio
  15. ^ 'Terrible loss': Hip-hop reacts to Jam Master Jay slaying
  16. ^ "Celebrities & Notables – Ferncliff". Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  17. ^ Feds Lay Out Alleged 50 Cent Plot
  18. ^ a b c Suspect named in '02 slaying of Jam Master Jay
  19. ^ http://newsone.com/1594265/unsolved-hip-hop-murders-rap/

External links[edit]