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Run-DMC DJ slain in recording studio

Jam Master Jay
Jam Master Jay

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Jam Master Jay, the DJ of the pioneering rap group Run-DMC, was shot in the head and killed in a New York recording studio. WABC's Jeff Rossen reports (October 31)
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Jam Master Jay, the DJ of the longtime rap group Run-DMC, was shot in the head and killed Wednesday night in a Queens recording studio, according to New York police.

Another man, Urieco Rinco, 25, was shot in the leg and taken to a local hospital, police said.

Police are investigating the shooting, which took place inside a studio on Merrick Boulevard about 7:30 p.m.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Jam Master Jay was born January 21,1965, as Jason Mizell in the middle-class Hollis neighborhood of Queens, New York, according to the group's Web site. He linked up with Run (Joseph Simmons) and D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels) -- also from Hollis -- scratching turntables for the two rappers who had just graduated from high school.

A year later, in 1983, the group released its first single, "It's Like That" with a B-side, "Sucker MC's," which spawned a phrase used in rap songs decades later.

Known for their loose Adidas-brand shoes and thumping beats, the trio is credited with beginning the current trend of combining rap music and rock 'n' roll in their hit remake of Aerosmith's "Walk this Way" in 1986, teaming up with the band's lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry.

The shooting death was met with shock by the group's fans who likened Run-DMC to the "Beatles of rap music."

"May Jay remains an inspiration for us all -- a man with vision, creativity, generosity, and talent, one who condemned and spoke against violence, and was taken away from us, and his family, far too soon," one fan posted on the group's Web site.

News of Mizell's death evoked memories of the shooting deaths of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. in the late 1990s.

Unlike other rap artists whose lyrics glorified gangsters and "thug life," Run-DMC tried to distance itself from that image.

"They say we're putting out bad messages to the kids," Run told Rolling Stone magazine in a 1986 interview, in response to violent outbursts at several of the group's concerts. "Our image is clean, man. Kids beat each other's heads every day. They are fighting because they were fighting before I was born ... we're role models."

Several of Run-DMC's songs boast about Jam Master Jay's DJ skills, including "Jam Master Jammin' " on the group's 1985 album, "King of Rock":

"He has a little soul, to rock n' roll

Every record that he touches turns to gold

He's well conducted, self-instructed

His styles were plied, heavily constructed

Mechanically inclined, and if you don't mind

We add spice to your life, time after time

And think about times, where he's a long laster

We rock our rhymes for the Jam-Master."

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