Each year around the middle of October, I start thinking about the tragedy of JMJ's still unsolved murder.
I borrowed a copy of this DVD from a friend, it was packaged with one of 50 cent's album releases, as a bonus DVD.
Upon viewing it, the very first thing that you notice is that DMC, one third of the greatest hip hop group of all time, doesn't appear in the documentary. Jason's wife and immediate family are also missing from the documentary. His cousin, who put this together, did seem to gather up most of the men who grew up with and really knew JMJ.
If you watch old RUNDMC videos or even their film, Tougher Than Leather, you will recognize many of the faces as members of the Hollis Crew. Russell Simmons and publicist Bill Adler appear as do Jay's musical protégés Onyx, Jayo Felony, and 50. Ja Rule, Black Child and various Queens rappers and industry insiders weigh in on the personal impact of JMJ to them and to hip hop.
Since this copy was from a 50 cent project, I was glad to see that Ja Rule and others weren't edited out. JMJ and his life transcended any personal issues that exist between any Queens rappers.
The production values of this doc. are great. One of the things that derail many hip hop docs is poor production and that's not the case here. I've been a fan of RUN DMC since the era where it was rare to see rappers on mainstream TV (and we'd call each other whenever that occurred).
Even though I'd been following the group since forever,and had read most of the books and biographies about them, I still learned quite a bit about JMJ from watching this.
When the faces in the doc. speak highly of JMJ, it's not the usual over the top praise that is give to the departed. J was ACTUALLY the integral part of RUN DMC's acceptance and success. If you don't think so, look for the photo of early RUNDMC stage show before JMJ. He's also always had the reputation for being a generous and business savvy guy, so when his longtime friends and musical protégés speak on that, it rings true.
Segments of the piece focus on the actual details about his murder and that's when you reminded that JMJ is no longer with us.As long as a man has a legacy and makes a lasting impact on people , he might be gone physically but his essence is still living.
Overall, a great rock-u-mentary.....or better yet king-of-rock-u- mentary.
Rest in Peace Jam Master Jay
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