Jam Master Jay Biography
Jason William Mizell (January 21, 1965 in Brooklyn, New York – October 30, 2002 in Jamaica, Queens, New York), known as Jam-Master Jay (or Jam Master Jay), was a founder and the DJ of Run-D.M.C., a highly influential hip-hop group, based in the Queens borough of New York City. Mizell and the other two members of Run-DMC, the MCs Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, and Joseph "Reverend Run" Simmons, were natives of the middle-class black neighborhood of Hollis, Queens.
The Run-D.M.C. songs "Jam-Master Jay", "Peter Piper", and "Daryl and Joe" herald Mizell's skills.
Mizell played bass and drums in several garage bands prior to joining Run-D.M.C.; on all of their albums from "Raising Hell" on, he played keyboards, bass, and live drums in addition to his turntable work.
Run-DMC's signature look of black sweatsuits and leather, with black-striped Adidas sneakers, was modeled after Mizell's personal clothing style.
In 1989, Mizell established the label Jam Master Jay Records, which scored a strong success in 1993 with the band Onyx. He also connected Chuck D with Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin. (Def Jam's other founder, Russell Simmons, is the brother of DJ Run.)
In the 1990s, Mizell suffered the effects of a bad car accident and a gunshot, mirroring similarly hard times for DJ Run (rape charge) and DMC (alcohol abuse).
Mizell remained in his childhood neighborhood his entire life. He founded the Scratch DJ Academy in Manhattan for children interested in DJing.
Mizell was shot in the head and killed in a Merrick Boulevard recording studio in Queens at 7:30 p.m. on October 30, 2002. The other person in the room, 25-year-old Urieco Rincon, was shot in the ankle.
The New York Daily News has reported that authorities have investigated whether Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a convicted drug dealer and longtime friend of Murder Inc. heads Irv Gotti and Chris Gotti, targeted Mizell for death because the deejay defied an industry "blacklist" of rapper 50 Cent that was imposed due to "Ghetto Qur'an", a song 50 Cent wrote about McGriff's drug history. A 2003 affidavit says, "Law enforcement agents are investigating the possibility that [Jason] Mizell [a.k.a. Jam-Master Jay] was murdered for defying the blacklist of 50 Cent."
Mizell was survived by his wife Terri and three children. He is interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.