The children of famous artists often struggle to find their own identity in the shadow of their successful parents. Friend of the Bubble Chris Rivers, son of Big Pun, struggled with it. At one point he didn’t want to feel like he was riding his father’s legacy to success, so he avoided talking about it. After some reflection and advice from peers as well as artists who collaborated with his Pops, Chris now embraces the memories and even does a tribute set to his Dad at his shows. But no matter who your famous Patriarch is, it’s always tough to come up behind them in the same industry.
Jam Master J’son is not one to shy away from his legacy. His father was one third of the most important rap group of all time- Run DMC. He started out playing football with the full support of his Dad, never even thinking about being a DJ. His father had plans for him to go on to college, get a degree and find success in life. But success comes in many forms, and a chance meeting with a promoter in Atlanta let J’son to DJ’ng his first ever set, and he never looked back.
But how do you ever live up to the reputation of your father when he is a legend who is still an icon 15 years after his death?
“It’s really not even about my ‘pedigree’, it’s about not bringing shame to the name. Like, if it’s a Jazzy Jeff or somebody like that, I’ll bow down. But if you try to come at me on some Jazzy Jeff and you not nice, you’re gonna get brushed up!”
Sounds like he has his Daddy’s confidence!
It doesn’t hurt that the other two members of the group his father founded have taken him on tour with them as his replacement. Even the affable Rev Run was taken back when he saw J’son in the booth for the first time.
“He just like, stopped everything in front of the whole crowd and looked back and me, choked up and said he couldn’t believe how much I looked like my Dad.”
So the Big Uncles took him under their wing and it’s a family reunion-right?
“No Comment on that- I got a book coming out, the whole story will be in there.”
Now that’s some must-read material.
The big uncle in this story is played by legendary industry insider and music legend Steve Lobel, a man who was there from the beginning of the Run DMC story.
“Steve was the first person to reach out and take me on the road after my father passed. He looks out for me. He’s why I’m here today. Wherever I go, I reach out to Steve and say ‘Who do I call while I’m here?’ Like I when I got to Cleveland he told me to reach out to Heff. He always holds me down when I’m out”
Having travelled to just about every continent (he’s quick to note that Africa is not on the list), he’s grateful for the opportunities choosing the DJ life has afforded him.
“To be 25 and have travelled all over the world is something I never imagined.”
The grind isn’t easy, however. The tour life takes some getting used to.
“When you go to 25 cities in 31 days it takes some time. It’s not really about the party. I still want the bottles, but I just give them to someone else. Pour the liquor out on their faces or in their mouth, have fun. But I have a plane to catch at 6am, so I can’t party like that.”
But don’t worry about him enjoying life. It’s just heating up. The DJ has now decided to work with some artists to help develop them and get their music out. Remember that his father was also one of the first people to take a flyer on another Queens native- 50 Cent.
Looks like that A&R apple didn’t fall too far from the tree either!
To keep up with Jam Master J’Son and find out when he’ll be in your city, go to: