NEW YORK — On October 30, 2002, LL Cool J had been partying, celebrating and shooting the video for his soon-to-be-hit single "Paradise." But suddenly, he had a terrible feeling in his gut that something had either gone wrong or was about to go wrong. Later that night, he found out that one of his closest friends, former mentor Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, had been killed in their home borough of Queens.
"When I got to the airport [later that day], that's when they told me he had died," LL said. "That's why at the end of my 'Paradise' video I put Big Momma [LL's grandmother] and JMJ up in the sky. That was my man, B."
Tuesday (October 30) is the fifth anniversary of JMJ's untimely death, but the memories of their more-than-20-year friendship are vivid in Cool J's mind. He laughed heartily in New York's Chung King studio when thinking about him and Jay nearly coming to blows during a silly argument, and smiled even bigger when he talked of opening shows for the road-hardened Run-DMC as a youngster.
"What people don't know is that Run-DMC basically taught me how to perform," he said. "I had to go on tour with them every night and just get brutalized. It wasn't fun.
"Me and Run-DMC, we had a lot of history and Jay was definitely a friend," he continued. "I just remember hanging around with him so many times and going around the world, going to radio stations. We been through so much. ... It was a brotherly thing."
Cool J said even though Jay is no longer here, he would love to see Run and DMC get back on the road and do shows, incorporating taped footage of Jay in their concerts.
For full coverage of the Jam Master Jay case, see the Jam Master Jay Reports.