The MCs of Run DMC may have been at the forefront of the crew, but Jam Master Jay was always the backbone. By cold rocking the funkiest doubles on the Technics, Jay proved that the DJ could be a band. Armed only with two copies of a Bob James, Billy Squire or Aerosmith record, the hip-hop icon could re-contextualise eight bars of drum breaks into the basis for a whole new song.
Run DMC have been called the ultimate hip-hop group. Was Jam Master Jay the ultimate hip-hop DJ? Certainly new skool jocks like Z-Trip think so, and take time out in their sets to do tribute routines in his honour.
Before his untimely murder in 2002, Jay founded the Scratch DJ Academy to push forward the art form of DJing he helped pioneer. RIP brother. The turntables might wobble, but they don’t fall down.
Jam Master Jay schools heads on the history of the break at a lecture in Sydney