Phife Dawg recently suffered a personal and musical loss last Monday (November 4), when his friend and independent Atlanta artist Jax died while performing on stage.
According to reports, the cause of death was cardiac arrest. Jax, real name Chris Thurston, was well respected in Atlantas burgeoning underground scene with his group Binkis Records.
His work drew the attention of founding Tribe Called Quest member Phife, who along with DJ Rasta Root began working with Jax to jumpstart their independent label Smokin Needles Records.
Although an industry veteran of nearly 20 years, Phife explained that Jaxs talent compelled him for the first time to consider moving behind the scenes as a mogul to help upcoming emcees.
I just dont cater to anyone like that, Phife explained this past Thursday (November 13) on Rasta Roots Sirius XM radio show. I used to kid him and call him Ghostface Jr., with his whole swagger and the way he attacked the tracks. His energy was also similar to Bustas.
DJ Drama was also devastated by the news.
The originator of the popular Gangsta Grillz series and radio show served as Jaxs first DJ when both were initially making their names throughout Atlanta.
Its crazy because so many memories are coming to me, Drama told AllHipHop.com. Jax was one of the first people I met when I came to Atlanta. This was my original family. I remember one of the first songs we ever did together called Shorties Be Coming Through that I did the scratches on and it just brings back great memories. We did it for the love. We performed at the Rocksteady celebration years ago and even after I was no longer with the group, Binkis Recs, he always let me know he was proud of me. It was just good times man.
As a DJ that is coveted by many new artists looking to make a name, Drama elaborated that many emcees can learn from Jax, who shunned major labels and released six independent albums through iTunes.
I wouldnt be in the position that Im in if it wasnt for some of the influence that he had on my life, Drama explained to AllHipHop.com. The most important thing to know is that at the end of the day it comes down to your heart and your passion. No matter what amount of success you get, no matter what type of money or no money, at any degree, its about the music.
Funeral services for Chris Jax Thurston will commence today November 15 in his native Queens, NY.
He is survived by his mother, a brother, and his newlywed wife Lisa Thurston, whom he married a month prior to his death.