Jason William Mizell¬†(January 21, 1965 ‚Äď October 30, 2002), better known by his¬†stage name¬†Jam Master Jay, was an¬†American¬†musician¬†and¬†rapper. He was the¬†DJ¬†of the influential¬†hip hop¬†group¬†Run‚ÄďD.M.C.¬†During the 1980s, Run-D.M.C. became the biggest hip-hop group and are credited with breaking hip-hop into mainstream music.¬†He was ranked No.¬†10 on¬†Spin‘s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time..
Mizell was born in¬†Brooklyn,¬†New York.At the age of 3 years he started playing trumpet and played bass, guitar, and drums in various bands prior to discovering turntables.He moved to¬†Hollis, Queens¬†in 1975 with his family where he soon discovered the turntables and started DJing at the age of 13.¬†He caught on quickly because of his musical experience and after a year of DJing he felt that he was good enough to play in front of people.¬†He first started playing at parks and later played at bars. He also began throwing small parties around the area.Once he got a pair of¬†Technics 1200s¬†he improved rapidly since he was able to practice at night with headphones on when he was supposed to be sleeping.Mizell became a DJ because he “just wanted to be a part of the band”.Prior to joining Run-D.M.C. he played¬†bass¬†and¬†drums¬†in several¬†garage bands.In 1982 he hooked up with¬†Joseph “Run” Simmons¬†and¬†Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels¬†just after they graduated from high school and agreed to DJ for them because he wanted to be part of the band.On Run-D.M.C’s album¬†Raising Hell, Mizell played keyboards, bass, and live drums in addition to his turntable work.¬†Mizell remained in his childhood neighborhood in Hollis, Queens his entire life.In 1989, Mizell established the label¬†Jam Master Jay Records, which scored a success in 1993 with the band¬†Onyx.¬†He also connected¬†Chuck D¬†with¬†Def Jam¬†co-founder¬†Rick Rubin.¬†After achieving relative prominence, Mizell was known to use the alias Jay Gambulos so as to avoid unwanted public attention.¬†He is also related to the¬†Mizell Brothers, a popular production team for¬†Gary Bartz,¬†Johnny “Hammond” Smith, and others.In 2002, Mizell founded the ‘Scratch DJ Academy‘ in¬†Manhattan¬†to “provide unparalleled education and access to the art form of the DJ and producer”.On consecutive Christmas holidays, Mizell survived a car accident and a gunshot wound to the leg..On October 30, 2002, at 7:30 pm¬†Mizell was shot and killed in a¬†Merrick Boulevard¬†recording studio¬†in¬†Jamaica, Queens.¬†The other person in the room, 25-year-old Urieco Rincon, was shot in the ankle¬†¬†and survived.In 2003,¬†Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, a convicted¬†drug¬†dealer and longtime friend of¬†Murder Inc.¬†heads¬†Irv¬†and¬†Chris Gotti, was investigated for targeting Mizell because the DJ defied an industry blacklist of rapper 50 Cent¬†that was imposed because of ” Ghetto Qu`ran”, a song 50 Cent wrote about McGriff’s drug history.
In April 2007, federal prosecutors named Ronald “Tenad” Washington as an accomplice in the murder.¬†Washington also is a suspect in the 1995 murder of Randy (Strech) Walker, a former close associate of the late legendary rapper 2Pac¬†According to court papers filed by the prosecution, Washington ‚Äúpointed his gun at those present in the studio, ordered them to get on the ground and provided cover for his associate to shoot and kill Jason Mizell.”Following his death, several artists expressed their grief for the loss in the hip-hop community and remembered him for his influence on music and the genre.Mizell was buried at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.(Wikipedia)