Run-DMC star Jam Master Jay was killed more than 20 years ago over a drug deal, jurors heard this week.
The 37-year-old, real name Jason Mizell, was shot dead at his recording studio in Queens, New York, in October 2002, reports The Sun.
His godson Karl Jordan Jr, 40, is on trial in New York accused of killing the DJ with friend Ronald Washington, 59.
Prosecutors said on Monday the pair, who deny murder, carried out the “execution” as revenge after they were cut out of a drug deal worth nearly USD$200,000.
Jordan, who was 18 at the time, is said to have shot Jay in the head with a handgun.
Despite the group publicly speaking out against drug culture at the time, Jay is said to have been a middleman in cocaine deals to fund his lifestyle as his music career faded.
He was one third of hip-hop superstars Run-DMC with Joseph Simmons, aka Run, and Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC.
The group had smash hits in the 80s with It’s Tricky, It’s Like That andAerosmith collaboration Walk This Way.
Jurors also heard Washington, a friend who was staying with Jay’s sister, was an alcoholic and relied on him to keep a roof over his head.
John Diaz, defending Jordan, said “the narrative has changed over time” and some prosecution witnesses co-operated with federal investigators in exchange for leniency in their own criminal cases.
Ezra Spilke, defending Washington, said there is no forensic evidence linking him to the murder.
Mr Spilke told the jury: “Mizell was a beloved artist, but convicting the wrong person … does not solve the tragedy. It just adds another one to it.”
The trial is expected to last four weeks.
Jay Bryant, who is accused of letting the pair through a locked back fire exit to commit the murder, faces a separate trial in 2026.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.