Members of the hip-hop community, get out your Sharpies.
Jam Master Jay's family is collecting autographs on a van they're calling the J-Whip to raise money for the recently launched Jam Master Jay Foundation for Youth. Once the ride is covered in hip-hop artists' signatures, the J-Whip will be auctioned on eBay.
"We were buying the van, and I started thinking about what to do with the van," Jay's brother, Marvin Thompson, said Tuesday. "I'm like, 'Yo, why don't we get all the hip-hoppers from Afrika Bambaataa to Chingy to sign the van, wrap it with [pictures of] Jay, move it around the country for a little while, let it be seen, then put it on eBay and see what it's gonna do.' "
The Jam Master Jay Foundation for Youth wants to raise $2 million to be divided into scholarships for 1,000 high school students who aspire to attend college.
Thompson said he's willing to drive the J-Whip around so that any interested artist can tag it, and there's no timetable for when it'll be put on the auction block. "We're going to keep going for as long as it takes," Thompson promised. "I'm willing to roll around and do what I gotta do."
Mos Def and KRS-One were the first two MCs to sign the van's interior, and since then Slick Rick, Dana Dane, Whodini, Chubb Rock, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, Russell Simmons and Kurtis Blow have also lent their John Hancocks and heartfelt messages.
"Everybody I've talked to so far is like, 'Word! Where is at?' " Thompson said. "It's a lot of energy and a lot of love. I'm looking for everybody [to sign]. The foundation, we're still trying to get it off the ground. This is the first project we're doing. We really wanted to do something with the community. There are a lot of [other] things on the table we're looking at. It's a struggle. I didn't realize how hard it was going to be [to run a foundation], but no struggle, no progress."
Two other projects have already been put in motion. Jay's family is still pushing to get a street in Hollis, Queens, named after the late rapper/producer (see "Jam Master Jay, Run-DMC DJ, Killed In Shooting") and next January 21, Jay's birthday, they hope to have a benefit concert in his honor.
For full coverage of the Jam Master Jay case, see the Jam Master Jay Reports.