Sunday, Dec. 22, 2002

Jam Master Jay

Crossover King of the Rhythm Nation
"J-A-Y are the letters of his name/Cutting and scratching are the aspects of his game." On every album they ever made, rappers Run and D.M.C. made sure to include a verse like that, if not an entire song, about their favorite subject: Jam Master Jay. His real name was Jason Mizell, and though he wasn't necessarily the best DJ in rap, he was the first to fuse hip-hop beats with rock melodies, fueling Run-D.M.C.'s historic crossover to the pop charts (they were the first rap group to sell a million records) and changing the sound of pop music forever. Jay was shot and killed in his Queens, N.Y., recording studio in November. Police have made no arrests.