The funeral service leaflet for Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell of Run-DMC
Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

If you don’t know his name, you know the legendary hip-hop group from which he hailed: Run-DMC. Jam Master Jay was the famed DJ who literally became the band for Run (now known as Rev. Run) and DMC. Jay had an innovative way of reworking riffs from classic guitar records and making them sound unique, groundbreaking and award-winning.

Jay lived for the music. And while doing what he loved—creating new music in the studio—he was shot and killed. Many people would agree that guns are a part of the hip-hop lifestyle, especially when it comes to protection and, let’s be honest, when it comes to racking up street cred. But Marvin Thompson, Jam Master Jay’s brother, said he carried as a means of protection.

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Thompson visited The Root’s offices to think back on Oct. 30, 2002, the day Jay lost his life to senseless gun violence. This is his story: