Almost three years ago, Run DMC lost their “one-man band” Jam Master Jay to a fatal shooting in Queens. In his memory, I’m posting one of the remixes available on the recently reissued Run DMC catalog and sharing my first memory of Run DMC… It all began in Mr. Beasley’s music class, sixth grade. Realizing that we weren’t about to get our song books out and sing “Kookaburra” anymore, Mr. Beasley started taping “MV-60,” an early MTV-like music video show, and playing it in class. Among the other videos that left an impression — Yaz’s “Don’t Go,” Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” Art of Noise’s “Close to the Edit” — was Run DMC’s “Rock Box.” Mr. B also let students bring in their own records once a week, which is how I heard that first DMC record. It was so raw and real from end to end. By contrast, Sugarhill Gang was disco and Run DMC was rap. Thanks to Run DMC, my ears we ready for Big Daddy Kane, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy, among others. Come to think of it, thanks to Mr. Beasley as well: you were a good music teacher.

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