The shocking murder of legendary DJ Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC remains shrouded in mystery, with police still tracking down leads and members of Jay’s inner circle pointing fingers at one another. Jay’s brother, Marvin Thompson, has been publicly vocal that JMJ associates Uriel “Tony” Rincon and Mike B.; Jay’s best friend and former business partner, Randy Allen; and Allen’s sister Lydia High — who were in the Queens, New York, studio at the time — must have witnessed the murder or, at the very least, seen the faces of the two gunmen who committed the crime five years ago.
“It’s too many people in that studio for [everybody] to come out and say, ‘I ain’t see nothing,’ ” Thompson recently told MTV News.
As the second installment of a three-part series rolling out this week — culminating in the first conversation between Thompson and Allen since the murder — MTV News spoke with Allen about what happened in the studio that night. (Check out the timeline and guide to key players in our first installment here.)
Jay’s former business partner told us that Rincon — who was sitting next to Jay playing video games when he was shot — should definitely have seen the killer.
“I think he’s matured as a person, I think he just can’t live with it anymore,” Allen said of Rincon breaking years of silence when he was recently interviewed by New York’s Daily News. Rincon maintained he did not see the gunmen because seconds before they came in the room, he was reaching for his cell phone behind the couch. They then shot Jay, and Rincon in the leg.
Allen calls the scenario Rincon described preposterous.
The Jam Master Jay Reports
Part 1: The story so far: A timeline of events surrounding Jam Master Jay’s death and a list of the key figures.
Part 2 : A conversation with Randy Allen who reacts to recent developments in the case and offers to speak with Jay’s brother, Marvin Thompson.
Part 3: Randy Allen and Marvin Thompson speak about the murder for the first time in five years.
For full coverage of the ongoing Jam Master Jay case, see The Jam Master Jay Reports.
“He was the only other one that got shot,” Allen huffed. “If I was sitting next to Jay and I got shot, I can’t imagine me not seeing the person. We’re talking about somebody in the space we’re in. If somebody was to walk up to me … there’s no way in the world you can tell me later that you didn’t see that person.
“How could you not see the person? I was in the studio, I know the studio and I know its setup so you could look at the door,” Allen continued. “I know Tony’s not telling the truth. I came close to him telling me [what really happened]. I never hurt anybody in my life. I don’t know how to hurt a person physically. I know I can get into a fight with a person, but I don’t if I’ll push them into something … I’m not a violent person. When Tony was around me after Jay died, I didn’t feel like I had to grab him, choke or beat it out of him. I felt like, ‘We all just been through something real serious.’ Tony was a friend, and I think he needs a little time like I needed a little time.”
But that time has stretched into more than five years, and the truth has yet to surface. MTV News’ recent interviews with Allen and former New York City detective-turned-private eye Derrick Parker seem to confirm one long-standing rumor: that Jam Master Jay had a gun with him in the studio at the time of the murder.
“It was a gun he got from somebody,” Allen said of the firearm, which he says was lying near the DJ at the time of his death. “It was more like an antique type of situation. Like in my house, I have an antique gun inside of a glass casing. This gun has been around so long that I looked at it like it wasn’t a gun anymore. It was a part of the fixture.”
Parker, who co-authored “Notorious C.O.P.: The Inside Story of the Tupac, Biggie, and Jam Master Jay Investigations From the NYPD’s First ‘Hip-Hop Cop,’ ” alleges that not only did Jay have a gun, but that forensic evidence proves that someone in the studio shot at Jay’s killers as they fled the scene.
“The two perpetrators that were involved with this left the building, ran out, and there were shots fired out at them when they left,” Parker told MTV News. “This is a new piece of evidence. There was another weapon [other than the assailants'] that was used by somebody in the studio to go after the two perpetrators that shot Jay.” Parker asserts that somebody was Randy Allen.
Initially, Allen maintained that he did not shoot at anyone that night. But he did not say, however, if he in fact picked up the weapon and attempted to go after the killers. The harder Allen was pressed on the allegations that he fired a weapon on the night of the murder, the more conflicted he seemed to be regarding what he felt he could say versus what he wanted to say.
“I wish I would’ve,” he said, choosing his words carefully, in regards to picking up the gun and trying to pursue the assailants. “When I came out of the room, I wish I would’ve seen them and had a gun.
“[But] I don’t wanna give nobody no misconceptions,” he continued. “Jay was my best friend, my only friend in the world. What do you think people think I did? It’s the natural thing to do. You come out of a room and your friend is laying on the floor shot, what do you do? You don’t have a gun. You gonna go after somebody without a gun? Your instincts would be to pick it up and chase whoever the hell just left.
“That’s how I know the gun wasn’t fired,” he added, responding to Parker’s claim that Allen had indeed used the weapon. “So wherever you’re reading that or whoever’s putting that out there is full of crap. It was never fired, it never had a chance to be fired.”
All that said, when pressed about the accusation, Allen seemed to soften his once-firm stance. He spoke both hypothetically and rhetorically about what we thought he would’ve done had he stumbled upon his best friend shot dead. But some of his answers were puzzling.
“If that’s what you would’ve done, then that’s probably what I would’ve done,” he said about exacting justice by picking up a gun and firing at a best friend’s murderers in a given scenario.
“I’m not trying to be not real about this, but I don’t know where this leads to. If I say I picked up the gun and I ran behind the guy trying to get him, I don’t want that to be misconceived,” he said. “Everything has been blown all out of proportion about anything that’s being said.”
“Everything has been blown all out of proportion about anything that’s being said,” he answered.
But then, after making some vague comments, Allen said very bluntly: “To be honest with you, you know what? Everybody knew I picked the gun up.”
If Allen’s comments about picking up the gun seemed sometimes contradictory, he ultimately maintained that he did not fire it: “I’m saying, I never even shot the gun, but if I had the chance to do it I would’ve.”
When MTV News made inquiries to the police about whether any additional shots were fired in or around the recording studio by anyone other than the assailants who killed Jay, detectives on the case refused to comment because the case is still open and the investigation is ongoing. In addition to local authorities, federal investigators are now looking into JMJ’s murder.
Allen maintains that a reconciliation with Jay’s family could help solve the case. MTV News was able to facilitate Allen’s wish: Last week, we conducted a joint interview with him and Thompson, in which they were able to air everything out face-to-face. Speaking for the first time since the murder five years ago, the conversation was at times volatile, insightful and very emotional. Check out MTVNews.com on Thursday to read and see video from the sit-down.