Ten years ago today Hip-Hop lost pioneering DJ, producer and co-founder of RUN-DMC, Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell. He was shot and killed in a recording studio in Jamaica, Queens. He was 37 years old.
Jam Master Jay was an influence on countless DJs and a director mentor to a lucky few. DJ Scratch told Nodfactor.com about his first meeting with Jam Master Jay and how important he was to his personal and professional life.
“…Of course everybody knows he is the person that brought me to EPMD. I was opening up for RUN DMC on the Run’s House Tour in Europe. The first day I met him was in London right after I won the New Music Seminar. I’m walking into the hotel with my belt. I was 19 at the time and this dude Garfield that was with Jay called me over and he asked me “Yo shorty wachudoin with that belt? You box or something?” I said naw, I won this. I’m a DJ. Garfield was like “lemme see it” and I was like ‘you can see with your eyes.’ He thought I was some London dude frontin like I was from New York. Jay just sat there while his man ran his mouth. He said “What’s your name?” and I said Scratch. And they were like oh you the one who’s opening up for us. Then Jay opened up and I told him he was an inspiration.
RUN DMC were headlining so they never got to see me perform. They didn’t get to the venue until Public Enemy was on. After the first show the sound man, light man and tour manager was telling them they need to see me perform, that this kid was bananas on the turntables. So they came to the venue to see me and after the first time he told me I was incredible.
Now Jay never used to come to sound check, he would have his boy Smith do his sound checks. But after that Jay would come to sound check every day. It’d be me, him and Terminator X. I would show him shit, an actual DJ routine and he started doing a solo with “Beats To The Rhyme” on that tour. They would perform the song and when it got to the break “1,2,3,4 hit it” he would do DJ solo off of that part and then they’d continue.
Watch the Jam Master Jay tribute featuring Kid Capri, Jazzy Jeff and DJ Premier from the 2003 BET Awards.