Gary Susman
November 01, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

To the rap world, Wednesday’s murder of Jam Master Jay seemed inexplicable. The 37-year-old Run-DMC DJ was beloved as an old-school mentor, and his group had a reputation for avoiding feuds and preaching against violence. Nonetheless, police speculate that Jay (real name: Jason Mizell) may have been killed because of one of his protégés, fellow Queens-born rapper 50 Cent, a rising star who may have angered other hip-hoppers because of his lampooning of gangsta rap.

The rising rapper, who is poised for fame with an appearance on the soundtrack album to Eminem’s upcoming movie ”8 Mile,” is known for his parodies of other rappers’ songs. This summer, he had a hit called ”Wanksta” that ridicules gangsta rappers who can’t come up with enough cash to buy the fancy cars they boast about because of their frequent stints behind bars. ”One of the theories is that somebody was trying to get back at 50 Cent by taking out Mizell,” a police spokesperson told the New York Times.

50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson) was scheduled to perform Wednesday night in midtown Manhattan, a few miles away from the Queens studio where Jay was shot. Police informed him of the murder and convinced him to cancel the show after what they called a credible threat, the New York Daily News reports. Police also offered to provide him with uniformed cops to guard him, but he declined and left the city, the Daily News reports.

The New York Post reports that he has already survived two attacks on his life, back in 2000. He was stabbed in March of that year and shot three times in May. New York police sources told the Post that cops in California and Florida had said that there were still active threats against the 26-year-old boxer-turned-rapper. 50 Cent has not commented on Jay’s shooting or possible threats against himself.

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