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Russell Simmons Issues Statement on Jam Master Jay & Theories Emerge on Rapper's Death

Russell Simmons, chairman of the Hip-Hop Action Network, issued the following statement on Jam Master Jay who was murdered in his recording studio in Queens, NY.

"For nearly 20 years, Run-DMC has been the closest thing to gospel artists that the contemporary music community has had. They talked about God and their higher selves, the importance of staying away from drugs, and generally inspirational and uplifting subject matter. They represented everything good and positive about hip-hop.

"Jam Master Jay was a longtime family man and one of the founders of the group that knocked down all of the doors for hip-hop, and a dear friend of mine. I loved him. I will miss him. He is irreplaceable.

"Before the media rushes to attribute this to East Coast – West Coast violence, they should examine Run-DMC's two decades of contributions and Jam Master Jay's personal character. This has nothing more to do with so-called East Coast – West Coast violence than the sniper murders in Washington did. We at the Hip Hop Summit Action Network offer our sincere condolences to his wife and children."

Theories Emerge on Rapper's Death

NEW YORK (AP) — Police investigating the killing of Run-DMC disc jockey Jam Master Jay said they have several, competing theories about the motive.

Meanwhile, a wake was planned for Monday and a funeral Tuesday for 37-year-old Jason Mizell, who as Jam Master Jay worked the turntables as Joe "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels rapped a string of hits over the years.

Police on Friday discounted an earlier hypothesis that a wider music industry feud prompted a masked gunman to fire one .40-caliber bullet into the head of Mizell as he played video games Wednesday night in the lounge of his recording studio.

"They're fishing. Everyone's fishing for information," said Chris Lighty, manager for rapper 50 Cent. His client, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, canceled a Wednesday night performance in Manhattan after receiving what police described as a credible threat.

By Friday, police downplayed the danger to Jackson, saying they no longer believe he is a target of Jam Master Jay's killers.

Two detectives from the New York Police Department's gang intelligence unit have been interviewing people at rap concerts and events, and investigators searched the second-floor studio where the killing occurred.