Curtis Scoon is a product of Hollis, Queens, the birthplace of some of
Hip-Hops most influential artists. Scoon, who was never involved in the
rap industry, suddenly found himself the unlikely center of it – as a suspect in the murder of Jam Master Jay. Scoon does not hide his former life
as a street figure in Queens. But after speaking with him in detail, one
realizes very quickly why he avoided the death traps that so many of his
peers fell victim to. Aside from possessing one of the most interesting
voices I’ve ever heard (part Ghostface, part Biggie), every sentence and
move Scoon makes is calculated and deliberate.
After Jam Master Jay was
killed and his name was floated around, Scoon acted preemptively. He
hired a top New York lawyer and refused to speak to the police unless he
was charged with a crime. According to Scoon, this was merely an attempt
to prevent being made a “scapegoat” in one of the most infamous,
hideous, unsolved crimes committed in entertainment. Curtis Scoon is no
longer a person of interest in the murder of Jam Master Jay, but it
almost appears nobody is these days.
With the murder of Jam Master Jay behind him, Curtis Scoon boldly
proclaims his innocence. Now, he is attempting to turn a negative
situation into a positive.
Since leaving the streets behind, Scoon has remade himself into a
screenwriter, journalist, and documentary film maker.
He was featured in Playboy and has contributed for magazines like XXL, King
and was instrumental in the creation of Ethan Brown’s acclaimed book, Queen’s Reigns Supreme. The book, which tells the gritty drug world in crack
infest Queens circa the mid 1980s, also ties together the drug
culture’s interaction with and influence on the Hip-Hop industry.
Not only was Scoon there, he was writing about it. Scoon breaks down his
trials and tribulations and the impact being implicated in Jam Master
Jay’s murder has affected his life.
AllHipHop.com: Who is Curtis Scoon?
Curtis Scoon: Curtis Scoon is a lot of things to a lot of people. I am a writer,
[and a] producer of films and documentaries. Most people know me from being a suspect in the Jam Master Jay affair.
AllHipHop.com: How did you come about being a suspect in the murder of
Jam Master Jay? Right after the murder, various media reported you
were the prime suspect. Did you know Jay?
Curtis Scoon: Jay lived around the corner from me. We weren’t friends
that hung out. But we would see each other in the neighborhood and
greet each other. As far as my implication, I am not sure how or why I
was implicated. None of the eyewitnesses at the scene identified me to
the police, otherwise I would have been arrested that night or as soon
as they saw me. One of Jay’s friends has been a confidential informant
for 25 years and I mean, he was also implicated later on after myself.
To me, he had the means and the motivation.
AllHipHop.com: What friend are you referring to?
Curtis Scoon: Carl “Big D” Jordan. He’s
[allegedly] been a confidential informant for 25 years or more. Later
on, after my implication, he was implicated in the crime. To me, he had
the means and the motivation to put my name out there. The police
never technically called me a prime suspect. But they ran with it. And
the only way I can see them running with it, is if they were getting
reliable information from someone they have trusted for awhile. None
of the primary witnesses identified me.
AllHipHop.com: When the early reports came out about Jam Master Jay’s
murder, the killer supposedly told Lydia High to lie down. That’s a
key piece, because anyone that has hears you speak, knows you have a
very distinct voice. Did you know any of the people that implicated
Curtis Scoon: Big D lived on Jay’s block. Lydia and them lived close,
we all lived in like a four block radius of each other. But, along
with my voice being distinct and not only did the perpetrator
supposedly tell Lydia to lie down, but the description they provided
was a guy who was six feet tall, 180 pounds. I am 6’4 and 250 pounds. So
even if the voice sounded like mine, their physical description
doesn’t fit. An eyewitness already said they saw Big D go in and out
of the studio. Are they telling the truth? I don’t know. But if anyone
said that about me, I’d be doing this interview from Rikers Island.
His closest friends are suspected by the police, his mother and his
wife. It’s not a good picture.
AllHipHop.com: Why would they implicate you in Jam Master Jay’s death?
Curtis Scoon: There’s a lot of old animosity and scores to settle. I
never got along with Big D, or Randy. It wasn’t that I wasn’t friend
with Jay. He kept company with people I didn’t get along with or who
didn’t get along with me. We will never know until these guys come
AllHipHop.com: You had an altercation with Randy once right?
Curtis Scoon: Yeah over the years, but Randy wasn’t a factor. I had
run-ins with them, because it wasn’t major. As much as I don’t care
for Randy, I don’t believe he’s the person who implicated me, I
believe it was Big D. He never implicated me to the police and in
public, on a Hot 97 interview, he practically vindicated me. There’s
been a whole lot of lies and I want to make it clear. I was not a part
of that circle, I have never been in the studio, didn’t know the exact
location. I didn’t deal with those people.
AllHipHop.com: How did you first hear about Jay being murdered, and
then how did you hear that you were implicated?
Curtis Scoon: I was in my apartment writing my screenplay. A friend of
mine called me the night of and said, Theyre saying Jay is dead on the
radio. I figured he had got shot or something. I didn’t know Jay’s
personal dealings, but I couldn’t see why anyone would want to kill
him, so I just didn’t believe it at first. I thought the rumor mill
was getting carried away. Being implicated, someone called me. The
next day, someone called me and said people were saying my name on the
street. It’s unfortunate, but I wasn’t too surprised. I was upset, but
you know, knowing the history of people in Hollis, it was customary
for me to be implicated in any kind of mystery. Anything that looked
like it required thought or planning. As much as I didn’t like it, I
figured it was just stuff from my past.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve already left your street dealings behind. What
were you doing prior to all of this, like your educational background?
Curtis Scoon: I went to Catholic school with [Reverend] Run and DMC. Then I went
to one of the best high schools in the New York Public School System,
Brooklyn Technical. Then I went to Hampton, and I paid for that myself.
There are only two people who talk about what they can get in trouble for: jackasses and liars. I’ll say this: In 1985, before I turned 21,
I was picked up taken to Nassau County on a trumped up charge. And
while I was there, I had all my finger prints, my palm prints and foot
prints taken and sent to the FBI database in Washington DC. That
doesn’t just happen to anybody. At that point, I realized it wasn’t a
game and I had to be smart about whatever I did. They made sure they
weren’t going to lose track of me. I moved in certain circles, but to
me, it’s not what I did, it’s just the caliber of man I am. You got all
kinds of dudes doing all kinds of things, but they aren’t men of
AllHipHop.com: So when you found out you were a primary suspect in Jam
Master Jay’s murder, did you fear for your safety? I mean, there were
some real talk going around that if the person who killed Jay was ever
found, they were going to get dealt with.
Curtis Scoon: I should have cared for my safety, but that aspect
didn’t hit me. I was worried about my freedom, because I felt like an
attempt was underway to railroad me and scapegoat me. And due to the
choices I made in my past, I was a believable candidate, because your
past does follow you around. And from the issues with these guys, D
and Randy and them, they had enough motivation to lie on me. They
might have been harboring grudges from losses I forgot I gave them. I
was concerned about my freedom. That is the first and only time when I
was actually just shell shocked. I couldn’t believe it.
AllHipHop.com: They’ve never charged anyone in Jay’s murder. How have
you dealt with the fact that it’s still open, because it’s not over
Curtis Scoon: At one point I was thinking about suing various media
outlets. I talked to a top lawyer, and he looked at my past and said, It’s not like they are causing damage to your reputation. I have one
felony conviction that was turned over in court. I’ve never done time,
been arrested with weapons or drugs or anything in my life. But I
couldn’t do anything about it. But because I had been through the
system, even though I beat all my cases, it doesn’t look good. I just
had to take the loss and keep on moving. I don’t even think about that
incident anymore, it doesn’t haunt me. I am too busy trying to get on
with my life and do other things.
AllHipHop.com: So the Jam Master Jay murder interrupted your
screenplay career? What got you into that?
Curtis Scoon: I had hit rock bottom and I had to ask myself, Who are
you? I said, I am sales man but I don’t have a product. I dug deep
inside myself and made a product, a screenplay called Fall from Grace.
A producer optioned it, it never did anything. But all the feedback I
got from it was very good.