Updated 5:13 pm-- Many within the Hip-Hop nation are shocked, saddened and even in denial about the death of Justo Faison. Tragically, Faison, the founder of the successful Mixtape Awards, was killed in a car crash sometime early morning Saturday (May 14).
Details remain vague, but sources confirmed with AllHipHop.com that Faison passed away in Virginia, while working doing promotions in the evening. According to some sources, Faison was departing Richmond and was extremely tired while driving to an undisclosed destination.
Faison founded the Mixtape Awards in 1996 and helped highlight and reward a previously unrecognized component of the music business - the mixtape.
"Justo was like a brother to me," DJ Kay Slay told AllHipHop.com. "At one time he helped manage me for free. Justo was the only person we had standing up for the DJ's from the heart and he will be missed."
At presstime, a funeral fund, spearheaded by Kay Slay and Kid Capri, was already being erected for the pioneer. One source said it is time for the DJ's to return the favor to Justo. "The DJ's need to step up to the plate on this one. Justo gave his life to them." details of the fund were forthcoming.
DJ Sickamore, like most, remained stunned at the sudden loss of Faison.
"Its terrible. I'm still kind of in shock. You can't really measure what Justo did for mixtapes," Sickamore said. "He really made a lot of mainstream outlets respect the mixtape grind and gave DJ's something to look forward to at the end of the year. Something just for us. I'll always respect that."
Others like DJ Clue, DJ Kid Capri, 1st Lady El & DJ Lazy K of the Murda Mamis, Rah Digga, DJ Absolute DJ Butta Balled, DJ Ron G, DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Ace, DJ L-Gee, DJ Dub, Brandy Garcia of Power 93.3, Chris Landry of Sureshot Records, DJ Vlad, DJ Warrior and droves of others sent in their condolences.
In March of this year, Faison released the DVD "Justo Presents: The Mixtape Documentary," which gives fan an inside look into the mixtape industry.
His forward thinking nature helped him excel in the competitive world of mixtapes.
"As a DJ striving to excel in the mixtape world, it is extremely disheartening to lose someone who truly elevated and legitimized the art form," mixtape DJ Mick Boogie of Cleveland said. "He will be missed."