Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay Was Allegedly Killed in a Drug Deal

Run-D.M.C. (from left): Jam Master Jay, D.M.C. and Run

Jason Mizell, a.k.a. Run-DMC's DJ Jam Master Jay, was murdered in 2002. Now, 18 years later, we know why.

On August 17, federal prosecutors in New York charged two men with Mizell's death, claiming it was over cocaine.

Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme alleges that Mizell and the two men - Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr. - were involved in selling the drug. 

The indictment, dated August 13, lists 10 counts. The first is for the "Murder of Jason Mizell While Engaged in Narcotics Trafficking": 

On or about October 30, 2002, within the Eastern District of New York and elsewhere, the defendants KARL JORDAN, JR., also known as "Little D" and "Noid," and RONALD WASHINGTON, also known as "Tinard," together with others, while engaged in an offense punishable under Section 84l(b)( l)(A) of Title 2 1, United States Code, to wit: a conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, did knowingly and intentionally kill and counsel, command, induce and cause the intentional killing of an individual, to wit: Jason Mizell, also known as "Jam Master Jay," and such killing did result.

Of the 10 counts they are charged with, eight are for distribution of cocaine. At a press conference, according to ABC News, DuCharme said that "Jay would bring in bulk amounts of cocaine to sell retail and was killed as retribution for cutting Washington out of a plan to distribute 10 kilograms in Maryland."

He claims Jordan pulled the trigger when they confronted Mizell at his recording studio in Queens, NY. “They walked in and murdered him in cold blood,” DuCharme stated.

The case had long been a mystery. Washington is currently doing federal time for numerous robberies and Jordan was charged with cocaine distribution in 2017.


A Brief History of Run-DMC.

In 1982, Mizell (Jam Master Jay), Joseph Simmons (Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) founded the hip-hop group Run-DMC in Queens, NY. Jay was the trio's DJ and Run and DMC handled the raps.

Over the course of seven albums from 1984-2001, they had a number of hits, the biggest of which was their collaboration with Aerosmith on "Walk This Way" (No. 4, 1986).

Run-DMC disbanded after Mizell's death. Run became an ordained minister (Rev Run) and D.M.C. launched a solo career. 

In 2009, Run-DMC were the second hip-hop band ever to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five were the first). According to Ranker, they're the seventh most popular hip-hop group of all time.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.