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EDITIONS
Monday, 18 November, 2002, 16:20 GMT
Shooting 'harmed' hip-hop's image
Jason Mizell, Darryl McDaniels and Joe Simmons
Jam Master Jay (L) was the DJ for singers Run and DMC
Rap star Ice Cube has said hip-hop has suffered a setback after last month's shooting of Run-DMC's Jam Master Jay in New York.

Jay, real name Jason Mizzell, the group's rapper, was gunned down in a studio while playing video games on 30 October.


Run-DMC was about the art, not about the bling bling or the gangsterism

Ice Cube
His killer has not been caught, and a motive is still unclear.

Ice Cube told the BBC the shooting raised the spectre of rap's violent image, and insisted it was far from reality.

"It's entertainment. Do people want to go kill Robert De Niro, you know, when he does Casino or whatever? It's music... their music never promoted any kind of violence."

"Run-DMC was not about that, Run-DMC was about the art, not about the bling bling or the gangsterism," he said.

"All that kind of stuff came after what Run-DMC had established, which was the art, the poetry and the music. It's just distorted right now."

Rivalry

Run-DMC were one of the hip hop scene's pioneers, having started in the early 1980s and paving the way for high profile acts such as The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.

But their music did not glorify violence, which has left police puzzled as to why Jay was targeted.

Ice Cube
Ice Cube: Carved out career as solo rapper and film actor
Ice Cube also sought to distance the shooting from rumours of the continuing war between rappers from the east and west coasts of the United States.

"Right now there's no beef in the air. If people got beefs it's personal beefs with each other, but there's nothing that's coastal or bi-coastal about it," he said.

The rivalry has led to the deaths of several high-profile rap stars in recent years, linked to gang activities.

Tupac Shakur, who was signed to the Los Angeles label Death Row, was shot dead in a drive-by attack in Las Vegas in September 1996.

The following March his rival, New York's Notorious BIG - a protégé of Puff Daddy - was also killed.

Ice Cube is currently promoting his latest movie, Friday After Next.

Since leaving NWA, the 37-year-old rapper has carved out a successful solo career and parts in several major films.

Ice Cube is a former member of the seminal Los Angeles group NWA (Niggaz With Attitude). Their music was often singled out for its violent imagery and bad language.



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