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Page 1

 The investigation gets bogged down as officers encounter little cooperation in Jay's 'hood ...

Page 2

 Was Jay involved in a coke deal gone bad? And just who, exactly, witnessed the shooting? ...

Page 3

 Investigators theorize that someone tipped off the killer about Jay's whereabouts ...

Page 4

 50 Cent speaks out, and Ed Lover accuses Murder Inc. of living up to its name ...

Streets Is Watching ...

 But nobody's talking. Why aren't the people in Jam Master Jay's 'hood cooperating with police?

Jam Master Jay Files

 Complete coverage of the investigation.

Photo Gallery

 Jam Master Jay: The Lost Photos

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— by Douglas Century

Five years ago Jam Master Jay's iconic career was cut short in a Queens, New York, studio in the same neighborhood where he made a name for himself alongsinde legendary rap group Run-DMC. On the anniversary of one of hip-hop's most tragic unsolved murder, we take a look back at the life and legacy pioneering DJ Jam Master Jay left behind.


In the days following the murder of Jam Master Jay, police, the local community and the music world all seemed to agree that whoever committed the brutal crime was going to be caught.

  Jam Master Jay: The Lost Photos
The killing of the beloved DJ/producer, in the neighborhood that success had never pried him from, seemed to cross every line that might prevent witnesses from cooperating with police. It was an intolerable offense, and everyone was confident that there would quickly be an answer to the question: Who killed Jam Master Jay?

Six months later, that answer still has not come. Since Jam Master Jay was shot and killed in his Jamaica, Queens, recording studio on October 30, the case has offered more questions than answers. Has the killer's trail gone completely cold? Or are detectives carefully lining up their chess pieces before making an arrest?

Jam Master Jay (born Jason Mizell), the hugely influential DJ and producer, was by most accounts one of the most well-liked men in hip-hop. There's a reward of more than $300,000 — funds raised by the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council, the New York Police Department and a coalition spearheaded by rap mogul Russell Simmons — for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Given that the murders of two other rap legends, Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., have been unsolved since 1996 and 1997, the Mizell family and the entire hip-hop community are asking if Jay's death is fated to be yet another case of a slain hip-hop icon whose killer goes unpunished.

Officially, the NYPD is guarded. "The investigation is ongoing," a department spokesperson said. "It's an open, active case, being worked out of 103rd Precinct."

Veteran detectives interviewed by MTV News were more outspoken. "The police department right now is at a standstill in the case," said Derrick Parker, a retired NYPD detective who spent several years working hip-hop-related cases within the department's Gang Intelligence Unit. "I'm not trying to say that they won't solve it, but the longer it goes by, in my experience, they're getting to the point where they can't take it any further."

According to another NYPD detective familiar with the case, who asked for anonymity: "They do have some leads, but they're bogged down now."

David Thigpen, a Time magazine reporter and author of the just-published biography "Jam Master Jay: The Heart of Hip Hop," observes that the stalled investigation has left a gloom among Jam Master Jay's immediate circle and the hip-hop community in general. "It doesn't seem to have gone too far," Thigpen said. "People are really dejected that nothing has happened yet. But on the other hand, I don't think there's a whole lot of cooperation going on out there in the streets. People are very scared."

Though the police department may be stymied in its effort to bring Jay's killer to justice, many of those closest to Jay say they have no doubt about the killer's identity — even if they aren't rushing forward to assist the NYPD in locking him up. According to Bill Adler, the veteran hip-hop journalist, longtime friend of Jam Master Jay's and the author of "Tougher Than Leather: The Rise of Run-DMC": "What I know is that people in the 'hood are absolutely convinced they know who did it. They've known from the very beginning, and the investigation hasn't been able to pin it on this guy."

When Jay — 37 at the time of his death and a father of three — was gunned down, several possible motives and scenarios quickly surfaced in the press. There was speculation that Jay may have been killed in connection to the escalating Murder Inc.-50 Cent beef (50 Cent had been a protégé of Jay's). Another theory had it that Jay owed a debt to an old neighborhood friend named Curtis Scoon, and that he was killed following an argument over the money. A third theory pointed the finger at one or more disgruntled rappers with whom Jay had worked who may have killed him over a disputed music publishing advance.

The scenario that has emerged as most probable is the financial falling out with Scoon, who was living in Georgia at the time of the murder. "The strongest motive they have right now is that Jay was killed over that debt," said one police source.

NEXT: Was Jay involved in a coke deal gone bad? And just who, exactly, witnessed the shooting? ...
Photo: © Glen E. Friedman (Burning Flags Press)

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