Jay’s like King Midas, as I was told,
everything that he touched turned to gold.
He’s the greatest of the great, get it straight he’s great.
Claim fame cause his name is known in every state.
His name is Jay to see him play will make you say:
“God damn, that DJ made my day!”
Run DMC… ‘Peter Piper’
REMEBERING JAM MASTER JAY IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS
by Davey D
I’m not sure what exactly can be said at this time…All sorts of
emotions are whirling inside my head and to be honest its hard to
believe Jam Master Jay [Jason Mizell] is dead…Dude was 37 years old,
had a wife and 3 kids.. I believe his oldest son is 15.. And if you
ever met Jay, you knew he was a cool cat.. He didn’t bring a gangsta
persona to the table. He wasn’t the type of cat who needed a bunch of
body guards when he walked down the street. As far as I knew he
wasn’t living foul, causing drama or somehow instigating any sort of
‘rap feud’ which are all but too frequent..
Jam Master Jay was a cool cat and it’s for that reason I don’t wanna
do what we always seem to do when we encounter violent death….I
don’t wanna simply ‘keep it moving’ and act like him being killed is
no big deal..It is a big deal. I don’t wanna put a good face forward
and stick the emotions of yet another violent death of another brotha
in the back of my mind. There’s been one too many deaths and I no
longer have room in the back of my mind. I don’t wanna fall back on
old tired clich s and say things like ‘death is a part of life’ or
‘when it’s your time to go its your time to go’. That don’t cut it
for me anymore. I don’t wanna act like this doesn’t bother me cause
it really does. . I don’t wanna give into this unwritten code among
us as Black men to not be phased by violent deaths because it’s an all
too common occurrence..
I don’t wanna hold a candle, pour liquor on a curb or go on the radio
station and play all my Run DMC records and rebroadcast all my old Run
DMC interviews. I don’t want Jay’s death to be reduced to yet another
tribute. It seems like in the past two or three years we’ve been
doing a hella of a lot of tributes. In the past couple of year alone
we’ve lost Big Pun and DJ Screw out of Houston to heart attacks. Too
Poetic of the Grave Diggaz passed from cancer, but he courageously
recorded his last album while he had the disease. We lost Aaliyah to
a plane crash and Left Eye of TLC to a car crash. We lost San
Francisco pioneering rapper Cougnut and San Jose’s D-Mac who died
together in a car crash just days before the Sept 11th attacks. Days
after the attack we lost Boogie Knights of the group The Boogie Boys.
Many of us are still grieving from last moth’s the sudden death of
Money Ray of the Cold Crush Brothers. He was diagnosed with cancer in
August and died 5 weeks later.
And, Yo, I gotta be honest, I’m still recovering from the emotional
upheaval of the sniper killings which just ended last week… I’m
still asking questions with regards to Kenneth Bridges-co-founder of
Matah. Why did this community activist and community leader have to
be killed? Why was it another brother to be the one to take him out?
I’m still trying to get over the haunting images of the distraught
mother of the 35 year bus driver who was the last sniper victim. I’m
still trying to process those heart breaking images….I’m still
asking why? I’m still asking why there are 94 murders in Oakland?
And I’m really bothered by the fact that damn near everyone I know
knows someone who has been killed in the past few years.. And I’m
still asking why we seem to take death so lightly? Why do we see life
as so expandable? I keep asking myself what happened to the promises
and commitments we all made when we came together in ’95 during the
Million Man March? We promised to uplift and affirm life. What has
happened since then? Why is loss of life no longer a big deal
anymore? Why is Black life so cheap? What are we doing to ourselves
and why? What’s going on? Will we ever get it together? Will we as
Black people ever get it together…Will we ever get it together? I
keep thinking about a song that poet D-Knowledge did a couple of years
ago where he asks ‘Does Anyone Still Die of Old Age’?
I don’t know if we’ve been able to fully grieve and process all this
death. Many of us are still left with unanswered questions as to why?
Why did this have to happen? It seems like as soon as we start the
process we’re hit with another sudden death which means we wind up
shoving a lot of feelings and emotions in the back of our minds, doing
another tribute and moving on. This time around I don’t just wanna do
another tribute.. There’s just too many tributes to the point that
it’s becoming routine and that’s bothersome for me… Jay’s death and
for that matter anyone’s death should not be routine…
Maybe I’m feeling this way because I’m realizing that in many
respects, I still never really got over the deaths of Pac and Biggie
and Jay’s death is making me realize that.. There’s really been no
closure despite all the VHI documentaries, articles, movie etc. This
morning I was talking to my boy Pharrel over at Roc-A-Fella records
and he pointed out something that really hit home.. He told me.. ‘I
hope they catch the guy who did this.. I hope they catch him because
there have been way too many unsolved murders in Hip Hop’. I kept
thinking about that and all these names that ran through my mind..
Scott La Rock, Freaky Tah of Lost Boyz, East Palo Alto’s Karisma, JoJo
from Bored Stiff, Ray Luv’s Dee jay DJ CAE, The Mac out of Vallejo, DJ
Quick’s partner Mau, Pac’s homier, Yare “Kauai” Foal, Oakland’s
Seagram, 2 Pac and Biggie… The list goes on…There’s a whole lot
of unsolved murders in rap and I don’t care what anyone says, that
lack of closure has an effect.
And while one can easily make the case that there’s a lot of unsolved
murders in our community in general, one would hope that we would be
able to get to the bottom of some of these high profile slayings…
The fact that we never seem to solve the murders of some of these
artists the same way we don’t seem to be able to solve the murders of
‘Pookie’ or ‘Ray Ray’ from up the block, underscores the notion that
in many circles the loss of Black life is no big deal…It don’t
matter whether you’re a high profile artist or a d-boy on the local
corner in the hood. It’s like we’re expected to die a quick and early
death. And even sadder is the percieved circumstances of our deaths
are all the same. In other words since last night, I’ve been fielding
a lot of calls from local reporters who seem bent on making this
connection to JMJ’s death with the deaths of 2Pac, East-West coast
feuds and on going beefs in rap like Ja Rule vs DMX and Nas vs Jay-Z.
This is not the Jam Master Jay I know.
It’s like cats are trying to make the case that perhaps Jay lead a
crazy lifestyle that somehow invited the violence that befell him..I
don’t wanna put JMJ in that category. Almost all the newscast and
stories I’ve heard end with reporters trying to make that connection..
“Jay Master Jay like 2Pac and the Notorious BIG’ is in a long line of
rap stars who have died violently in a violent rap world”. Heck CNN
has a poll on their website as we speak..asking who has the most
musical influence 2Pac, Biggie or JMJ.. As innocent as it may seem to
some, there’s something about that poll and the overall approach and
questions raised that don’t sit well with me.
I don’t wanna say Jam Master Jay and 2Pac in the same breath. I don’t
wanna compare him to Biggie. I don’t wanna say JMJ is in a long line
of rap stars who died violently…Jay deserves his own space in our
minds and hearts. We all need to take time out and reflect on Jay the
musician, the pioneer, the man, the father, the husband, the friend,
the associate and not categorize and compartmentalize him. I don’t
wanna see him reduced to another violent casualty in a ‘violent rap
world’ as one TV reporter described it.
Before asking questions about Hip Hop and violence let’s began by
asking ‘Did you know Jam Master Jay?’ ‘How are you coping with this
sudden loss of life?’ Are you sad? Are you angry? How will you deal
with it and what changes will you try to bring about? ‘What type of
man did you know JMJ to be?’ What did he mean to the community? What
did he mean to his family?’ .. Words cannot express the hurt,
sadness and anger I feel for this loss…
Please take time to hug those you love.. It should be obvious by
now..no one is promised tomorrow.. Please take time to say a prayer
for Jay’s three kids and the wife he left behind Pray for the rest of
his family and friends. One can only imagine what they must be going
through. Pray that God gives them strength to get through the pain of
his death..Pray that they be comforted..Lastly take time to reflect
and allow yourself to grieve. Allow yourself to heal.. We’ve been
hit with a lot of stuff over the past few years..
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