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ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Docu about the murder of influential DJ has strong language.

Movie NR 2018 58 minutes
ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay? Poster Image

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Part biography, part musical history, and part true crime, this documentary manages to convey so much in under an hour. Friends and family discuss Jam Master Jay's impact on Run DMC's sound and image, and how he helped rap find an international audience while never forgetting his roots in Hollis, Queens. The unsolved 2002 murder of Jam Master Jay, aka Jason Mizell, is reconstructed, going through the list of suspects and their motives, and while ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay? could have done the typical basic-cable sensationalized "true crime" route, the documentary makers dared to dig deeper.

Mizell's murder is the starting point to explore how his unsolved homicide is part of a much larger problem. Namely, the strained relationships between people of color in urban areas and the police. Why is Mizell's case one of many of rappers getting killed and their assailants literally getting away with murder? How does his murder highlight the assertions made by African American communities that there's one standard of justice for some and no justice for others? The balance between all of these issues and the story itself is impressive and should inspire discussion among families about not just who they think committed the murder, but also why it has remained unsolved in the first place.

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