Hip-Hop legend and pioneer Jam Master Jay was laid to rest today in Queens, New York. Thousands of people withstood freezing cold weather and waited in long lines to pay their last respects to the man who along with Run-DMC helped change the face of hip-hop music.
Men, women and children flocked to the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York in Queens wearing Jay's signature outfit: black leather pants and blazer and a Stetson hat.
As crowds waited, the body of the legendary DJ arrived in a white horse drawn carriage. The inside of the church was decorated with flowers from various rappers. LL Cool J's reef said "Love, Respect: LL Cool J, Student." Ruff Ryders sent a reef that formed their double R logo and several reefs formed turntables.
A choir of 13 singers and a five peice band sang various gospel hymns to the attendee's and the proceedings were broadcast on the church's huge two television screens which are embedded in the walls.
"Again we gather and our hearts our made heavy because another life is cut short," the Minister Stanley Brown said as the proceedings started. "Jay may not have lived long by our definition but he lived well judging by his contributions."
Group member Reverend Run said "He came at an appointed time and left at an appointed time. Jason helped build hip-hop and his job is done. He was a drama DJ, so why not murder? This is the most press he ever got. This is his last DJ gig. Everyone here needs to find out what you are supposed to do when you leave."
After Run spoke, Minister Kevin Muhammad of the Nation Of Islam took center stage. "Jason designed his entire life on the decency of hip-hop culture," Minister Muhammad said. "He moves into a new realm. We need to have a new generation of rhyme sayers. Let our lyrics reflect the light and the life of god."
DMC delivered an emotionally charged speech in honor of Jay. "We will not let the media knock hip-hop as a violent expression of our youth," DMC said. "When you leave today let's work toward the goal Jay was working for....peace. Jay was no thug, not a gangsta. He was a unique individual. He came from a special class of human kind. He was a B-Boy, the embodiement of hip-hop. He loved our music. Jay dressed so well that the fellas hated to shop with him. He was the life of the party and he always had a positive thought. The world could be coming to an end and Jay would say 'It's gonna be alright.' Yo Jay you represent us well. You was never a Sucka M.C. perpatrating the fraud. You're a role model for the generation before us, now and after us."
Jay drew many from the hip-hop community. Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, Def Jam Chairman Lyor Cohen, Def Jam President Kevin Liles, Dougie Fresh, Big Tigga, Pepa, Sway, Dr. Dre (of Yo! MTV Raps! fame), Bowlegged Lou and Paul Anthony of Full Force, Naughty By Nature, Daddy-O and Delight from Stetsasonic, Chuck D. and Professor Griff from Public Enemy, WC, EPMD, Foxy Brown, MC Lyte, a Tribe Called Quest (all four original group members came together) and many others attended.
"We were in Phoenix when we got the news that Jam Master Jay passed," WC told AllHipHop.com. "It hit us all hard. I went on my promo tour a couple more days and they told me they was having a wake and a funeral and everything, so I dropped everything I was doing. I called up Def Jam and told them I had to leave. I couldn't be in peace unless I came and paid my respects."
"The people who did this had, they had no idea how big he was," Erick Sermon said as his partner, Parrish Smith stood by. "Like DJ Scratch 'this is our 9-11.' I'm making a change." Sermon said that he had already started to change his lyrical content when he released "Music."
"Jay always took the time to hit me and Erick with the real when we needed it," Parrish added. "He will be missed."