By Hillary Crosley with reporting by Matt Elias
Tomorrow (October 30) marks the eighth anniversary of hip-hop icon Jam Master Jay’s passing, however we here at RapFix are celebrating the life of the Run DMC pioneer today. In remembrance, we talked with Soulja Boy about the legend’s influence.
Born Jason Mizell, Jam Master Jay was fatally shot inside a Queens, NY studio on October 30, 2002. He is survived by his wife and three sons.
For more than 20 years, Jam Master Jay, Run (Joseph Simmons) and DMC (Darryl McDaniels) touched the lives of multitudes of fans who include their peers and associates in the music industry. Their brash b-boy style introduced hip-hop to the MTV audience with classic clips such as “Rock Box,” “King of Rock” and “Walk This Way,” which also resuscitated Aerosmith’s careers.
“That’s Run-DMC’s mission,” DMC said in a 1988 interview. “Let everyone know this is music. It’s the most exciting form, the most educational, the most vivid and visual.”
It wasn’t just the swinging gold chains, the Adidas sneakers or the black jogging and leather suits. Fans fell in love with Run’s sheer audacity and charisma, DMC’s depth and strength and the Jam Master’s skills. His scratching and mixing exhibitions on songs such as “Jam Master Jay,” “Sucker MCs” and “Peter Piper” were as influential on future turntablists as Run and DMC’s raps were on the MCs who followed in their footsteps.
RapFix caught up with Soulja Boy at the shoot for his new video “Speakerz Goin Hamm” to ask him about Jam Master Jay.
“My whole thoughts on it is rest in peace Jam Master Jay,” said the Atlanta-based MC. “You know, I’ve been taking a lot of advice from 50—me and 50 been in the studio working on my album—and I know 50 came up under Jam Master Jay. He brought 50 in the game, so you know I can’t say nothing but my respect to him, and I know he did a lot for hip-hop.”
Soulja added, despite his Soundscan success, an MC is never too big to learn from the culture’s elders.
“When I talk to dudes like 50 Cent, and we’re working on songs or other business outside of music industry, it’s always things that you can learn,” said Soulja. “You always think you know it all, but you don’t. So when I’m around 50, he just like to ramble. He just like to go on [and] talk and it’s so good for me because I just listen. I soak it all up, take it and I put my own twist on it.”
And if Soulja Boy and 50 Cent’s partnership can teach hip-hop anything, it’s that, like his mentor Jam Master Jay, the ’each one teach one’ ethos isn’t lost on the G-Unit MC.
Rest in peace Jam Master Jay.
What are your memories of Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below.