It was shocking to learn that two men were charged with the murder of Jam Master Jay, and they happened to be people from his inner circle.

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“I’m just so happy that they got indicted on that,” LL Cool J tells Rolling Stone of the indictments. “And I’m just glad that they’re one step closer to a conviction. It was an absolute tragedy. [Jay] will always be forever respected by me.”

“He was my friend,” he says. “Jay was just a guy that I always had an admiration for that I looked to as a big brother who I argued with, who I talked music with, who I butted heads with in a good way, who taught me. … I went on tour with Run-DMC. They put me under their wing.”


LL starred in Krush Groove alongside Run DMC and opened for them on their 1986 tour.

“I can’t even remember the first time I met Jay,” LL says. “He was definitely already in Run-DMC, but we’re from the same neighborhood. Every time I met him, he was just the coolest dude in the world. He just had a great smile, a great personality, a great energy. It always seemed to be really clear that he knew what he was doing. He was a very smart guy. He was a lot of fun, and he just brought an air of security to everyone around him. Like, he was very confident. He was so cool.”

Jam Master Jay was working in his Queens studio when his former manager and godson came in and fatally shot him over a bad drug deal. Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan, Jr., 36, both pleaded not guilty. They’ve both previously been named as suspects but were finally charged last week.

“It’s been a difficult 18 years not having him around while knowing that his murderers were not yet indicted for this heinous crime,” DMC said in a statement. “I commend NYPD, NYC Detectives, Federal Agents and all the law enforcement who were involved in this case, for not giving up and working to bring justice for Jay.”

LL Cool J is on the same boat. “His family has my love,” he says. “[Jay’s death] is one of the things that makes me have thoughts that I don’t want to talk about in interviews. So I’m just glad that what happened with the indictment happened now, and I’ll leave it there. I’ll take 18 years over no years; 18 is better than nothing.”