Canadian rapper Jon James McMurray died last week on Oct. 20 during an airplane stunt for a music video he was filming. The rapper was only 34 years old. According to Andrea Diaz of CNN, James was on the wing of a small aircraft while it was in flight and walked too far out on the wing, which caused the plane to spiral down. The pilot was able to land the aircraft safely, but, James let go of the wing and did not have time to let out his parachute.
Before pursuing a rap career, James had aspirations of becoming a professional skier. However, he decided to pursue his passion for music after suffering multiple skiing accidents that caused major broken bones to his body. Even after several devastating injuries, the rapper chose to make a name for his self through various music videos filled with dangerous stunts he did himself.
James was just starting to become a household name in the music industry, and even though the rapper had yet to make it big in the scene, he filled many lives with positivity on a daily basis.
Here are five of his songs to remember him by.
1. “Bout You”
One of the most listened to songs on his 2016 album, “Rex Leo,” “Bout You” is exactly what it sounds like: James thinking about a girl. In the music video James reps a giant lion head as he follows around a girl he finds attractive.
The video is self-produced, which is why many of the faces are blurred throughout. Jones used real people in the video, not paid extras walking around in the background.
The track definitely was produced in an unabashed attempt to get the attention of a girl, as seen with the lyrics: “I’ve been thinking bout you girl, I’ve been thinking bout you.”
2. “The Man”
“The Man” was released three weeks ago on James’ YouTube channel. Featuring Riff Raff, a controversial, but well-known rapper in the music scene, the video shows James’ attempt to land a larger audience.
The teaser for the full song was the last thing James posted on Instagram before his death.
The video showed the rapper practicing an airplane stunt on the side of the wing while the song played over the video. Even in his death, James can still feel like “the man.”
3. “Dead Clocks”
The track is one of the more chilled songs from his 2016 album. In a way “Dead Clocks” is a perfect memorial for James’ life, not only in the aesthetics of the music video, but also in the message the lyrics are sending out to his audience. The track focuses on life, similar to how James’ family wants to celebrate his life, not mourn the loss of it.
The song seems almost prophetic after news of his death. The lines: “All big plans on unwritten pages, but I know it served a purpose, I wouldn’t be me without your verses,” exemplify the track’s underlying message of living for a purpose, which is easy to associate with the rappers own life. He died doing the things he loved, as tragic as it is.
The Monday followed his death, a new track titled “Patron” was released on his YouTube channel. The James Team and his family released the track as a way to spread word about his GoFundMe, which is attempting to release the rest of James’ music videos and covering his family cover the costs associated with his Celebration of Life, his family’s non-traditional funeral.
“Patron” is another track essentially about wanting to be with a girl, but has a smooth beat and catchy lyrics that set it apart from the others. The song opens with: “In loving memory of Jon James.” Fans flocked to the comments section to write about the rappers impact on their lives, as well as how his music held up in the scene.
“Hello” is the song that started it all for James back in 2015. Even though the song was initially released as a single, the song was included in “Rex Leo.” The music video also dropped three years ago.
The video kicks off by showcasing the rapper openly talking about his skydiving trick featured in the video where he crashed and broke the parachute. The video includes some great edits of James jumping out of the plane and rapping along to the song, making his death by a similar stunt all too real for fans.
The song that began his rap career also sent out a positive message to fans about living life to the fullest. From telling fans to “live like every day’s a weekend,” to “living out the best days of our lives,” the point of the song is to enjoy living the best way you can.
“Hello” will always be James’ big debut and a just representation of his life. In death he will be remembered by living life just as he preached it: with no regrets.
To donate and learn more about the GoFundMe created by the James Team check out the linked page.