The Ruff Ryders family gave a beautiful send-off this morning to one of the most integral engineers of their legacy. The legendary team had a "Celebration of Life" for beloved behind-the-scenes general Ignatius "Icepick Jay" Jackson. It took place in his hometown of Harlem at the Apollo Theater.
Pick was incomparable, never to be questioned. He could list manager, co-manager, executive producer, producer, A&R, and composer among his many credits. But Jackson is most known as human fuel by those who loved him in and out the music industry. He was a top-tier motivator. He always brought positivity and perspective.
"Pick was the official Ruff Ryders in every way," Swizz Beatz said today at the ceremony wearing, like most of attendees (including Pharrell, Pusha T, and a host of family and friends), all white.
"He'd dress up for a baby's party," Swizz laughed. "He'd always like to bring light in the room."
Looking in the crowd at the Apollo you could see people from industry: entertainers, radio personalities, record executives, journalists, and you could see people from other walks of life. But everybody loved Jackson and was greatly affected by the 44-year-old.
"If it wasn't for Pick, I don't think it would be the longevity of Ruff Ryders," Swizz added. "Pick believed in Ruff Ryders sometimes more than my family believed themselves. He would put that hope back into Waah, back into Dee, put that hope back into myself and see things we couldn't see and bring us together in ways we didn't see we weren't together. He was the nucleus of many things. With the Lox and turning in those albums, Pick flew all across the world to make features happen, get producers, and get those pieces and always was thinking forward. Merchandising and thinking about taking the legacy to the next level. He was that and still is that. We gotta do it big for him not only today, but everyday. Long live Icepick Jay, the great Ignatius Jackson."
Most people didn't know Jay had been battling cancer until around the time he died on June 6 when his close circle began posting beautiful reflections on his life. It was a shocking and tough blow to his peers in the music industry where he'd worked for over 20 years becoming one of the most loved and respected execs.
"He's a dude that wanted to leave no one behind," Styles P said during the ceremony. "He always had positive energy. I've never seen anyone with that much optimism in my life."
Styles told of how even a few weeks ago, when Jay was seeking treatment in Mexico for his cancer, Pick would call him with new business opportunities. He was working for his team until the end.
"He sounded so optimistic and strong," SP added. "All he had on his mind was pushing forward. He's a real brother. It hurts a lot because I'm going to miss that man. His physical presence. His presence was huge. I miss him terribly. I know he's here with us.... I love you brother."
"Pick changed my life in so many ways," Jadakiss, who worked the closest with Pick over the years, added. "I don't know what I'm gonna do without him."
Alicia Keys sang Pick's favorite song of hers, "Illusions of Bliss." She said, "My husband introduced me to so many incredible people and highest among them is Icepick. I feel his spirit. He's definitely here."
After the service, people released white balloons in the air outside the Apollo. Pick's casket was also outside encased in a carrier with glass windows.