Saturday, October 30, 2010

Remembering Jam Master Jay (RUN DMC)

I'll never forget the the time RUN DMC visited the US Virgin Islands. It was 1985, and Hip Hop, besides sports, was my focus.
I was enamored by the music that was pouring out of New York City, flowing as consistently as Niagra Falls.
RUN DMC has always been the group that epitomized the culture, the lifestyle and they set the fashion bar for many.
While Run and DMC did their thing on the microphone, my eyes were always glued on the disc jockey- Jam Master Jay (real name: Jason Mizell).
You see, Jam Master Jay had a way with working the "wheels of steel", the soon-to-be defunct Technics 1200s.
His scratches and cuts were always on cue, and even when one of them seemed out of synch, upon listening to the song a second time, it was then that I realized what Jay was intending.
To this day, I own a number of RUN DMC's albums, a few cassette tapes and the more common CDs and MP3s.
Today marks the 8-year anniversary of Jam Master Jay's (JMJ) murder.
I can remember it like it was yesterday when I heard the news: I was driving on the Long Island Expressway while listening to New York station, 97.1 FM.
To hear the news that the "silent one", as I had dubbed Jay, was killed in his recording studio in Queens was so disheartening that I had to pull over on the L.I.E. As Funk Master Flex reported the sad news........I cried.
I recall hearing, for the first time, songs "Sucker MCs", "Tougher Than Leather", "Rock Box" and "Walk This Way", and I always smiling, but it was "My Adidas" that spoke to my sole (pun intended).
I have always liked sneakers, and when Run DMC rapped about their love of the shell-toed sneakers, I immediately identified with the song.
When Run DMC rocked Madison Square Garden and told everyone to take off one of their Adidas sneakers and, "Hold them in the air!", I did and so did almost 15,000 other kids.
Little did I know the significance of that moment in sneaker history and how it would serve me in the future and today.
So, today I plan to listen to "Run DMCs Greatest Hits" and remember Jason Mizell a.k.a. Jam Master Jay and give thanks for the memories and him being a Hip Hop pioneer, and someone who motivated me to hear, listen and feel the music.
Walk GOOD JMJ, you're missed but not forgotten.

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