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The Streets Is Watching ...


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



Who Killed Jam Master Jay?


 The investigation has stalled, despite some promising leads. Is someone getting away with murder?





Jam Master Jay Files


 Complete coverage of the investigation.





Photo Gallery


 Jam Master Jay: The Lost Photos






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— by Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Sway Calloway

"And like all fairy tales end/ You'll see Jay again, my friend," the Rev. Run rhymed a month ago, reciting lyrics from Run-DMC's classic cut "Peter Piper." "We will see Jay again. His fairy tale on earth with Run-DMC has ended, but we will see Jay again."

April 30 marks six months to the day that Run and DMC lost their childhood friend and musical partner, Jam Master Jay. Although the icons have been coping with the loss of Jay, the group, like the rest of the hip-hop community and those who knew and loved Jay, has been left with an irreplaceable void.

"He just was a great man all the way around," Run continued reminiscing." You know the saying 'God takes the best from us'?"

  "The Hip-Hop community gotta be more vocal."
Jay was murdered on October 30 inside his Jamaica, Queens, recording studio. In the days after the slaying, police were optimistic about finding the killer. They said they had leads and just needed time to see which ones would pan out. Half a year later, the detectives are seemingly still at the starting gate. While there have been plenty of rumors and 'hood lore floating around, no arrests have been made, and police say they don't have any suspects.

Some hip-hop fans and people in Jay's neighborhood say they're experiencing déjà vu. They fear that the murder of the legendary turntablist will go unsolved like slayings of his iconic peers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.

"There's a lot of murders that happen in the 'hood all the time and they're never solved," DMC said.

"I think the police need to do a better job," rap pioneer Kurtis Blow said, standing on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, around the corner from where Jay was killed. "They haven't found the killer yet and I'm just waiting on pins and needles like everybody else trying to figure out what happened to my homey."

"Honestly, I think the police know what happened but they just don't want to see justice done," said Olivia Jackson, who works in the neighborhood. "I know who killed him because I'm in the streets. If I know, then I'm pretty sure they do too. The police ain't like how they supposed to be; you can't make them do anything anymore."

Jackson wouldn't elaborate on her theory behind the murder, and she said she hasn't talked to the cops. Police say a lack of cooperation from the public is one of the reasons the investigation has progressed more slowly than expected.

"I'm sure they're trying their best," hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said. "It's very difficult, people are quiet in these situations. In our 'hoods, that's our reality. They can't find the murderers for a lot of people. Jason's [murder] is the example of the ignorance and violence in our community."

"People don't want to step up," said 26-year-old Lloyd Bellamy, who grew up in the neighborhood. "They're scared, they're fearful for their life."

Lorraine Mathis, 33, of St. Albans, Queens, echoed Bellamy's theory that people are leery of repercussions. "My heart goes out to Jam Master's family, but even if somebody did know what happened, who's to say that police would protect them if they stepped up? Jay was a big time figure and he got killed. What do you think would happen to a regular person?"

Who Killed Jam Master Jay? Investigators have several theories, but no confirmed suspect. Click for more.
Charles Fisher, who founded the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council, set up a tips hot line. More than $300,000 is being offered to anyone with information leading to the apprehension of the killers, but calls are dwindling.

"It has definitely slowed up," said Fisher. "Went from 30 to 40 calls a week in November and December to five calls a week [now]. Some people call in inquiring about what happened. Some people give us information, and we pass the leads along. It's important to listen and follow up with all leads."

Though some may be in fear, many people feel that with everything Jay did for the community, the 'hood should return the love and help the police. Even some of those who live by street codes and admonish informing feel that helping to put Jay's killers behind bars is worth making an exception for.

"I don't know why it's taking so long. Jay was my dog too," said Murder Inc. recording artist Blackchild. Before aligning himself with Inc., Black was a protégé of Jay's, and like his former mentor, Black has his own recording studio in Queens. Around the time the DJ was murdered, he and Blackchild were collaborating on a few projects.

"It's hard because police can't do their job too hard without snitches," Black said. "If there's not too many witnesses or nobody wants to tell what happened, there's not too many leads and they can't solve the crime. [Jay's murder] wasn't gangsta. Jay ain't deserve to go out like that. Every artist that came through Queens and was successful went through Jay in one form or fashion. People definitely should come forward with information."

Even if the case is solved, nothing will ever bring back Jam Master Jay. DMC said he feels it's up to him and his peers to better inform the youth so that violence in the 'hood will end and nobody else will meet the unfortunate fate of his partner.

"It's cool to rap about your gun and your 'hood and gangbanging, but you gotta educate the kids on all the other things, too, which was what Jay was trying to do," DMC said. I think the hip-hop community gotta be more vocal. When Tupac died, everybody came together, they had their memorial services, they made a record, then everybody goes back to doing what they were doing. Life is still one party. OK, Biggie died, you have a memorial, you make the records, then after a couple of weeks ... we go back to doing what we were doing.

"We gotta make a change, where we gotta prepare it so these things don't happen no more," D continued. "Right now we're hitting a cycle. We gotta change our procedure. When you make a gun record, you have to make a record not about a gun. [The music] has all become too monotonous. People learn by repetition. We are programmed to think, 'It's OK that my homie got shot; he went out like a champ.' No it's not.


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Photo: © Glen E. Friedman (Burning Flags Press)

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