Birth name

Jonathan Burks

Also known as

The Jaz, Big Jaz, The Originator


4 October 1964
Brooklyn, New York City, NY


Hip hop


Rapper, record producer

Years active



EMI, Kingz Kounty Entertainment, Red Line Music Distribution, Inc., Sony, Tommy Boy

Associated acts

The Immobilarie, Jay-Z, Sauce Money

Jonathan Burks (born 4 October 1964), better known by his stage names Jaz-O and The Jaz, is an American rapper and record producer active in the late 1980s through the 1990s, best known for being the mentor of Jay-Z. Jaz-O experienced success with his 1989 single "Hawaiian Sophie" from his debut album Word to the Jaz. The song would mark the first time that Jaz-O and Jay-Z collaborated commercially, with Jay-Z later becoming a valuable contributor to Jaz-O's 1990 album To Your Soul.

He has been featured on Jay-Z's songs "Bring It On" and "Ain't No Nigga" from Reasonable Doubt, and "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)" from Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, where he was credited as Big Jaz. He also produced the single "Ain't No Nigga" and the song "Rap Game/Crack Game" from In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. The relationship between Jaz-O and Jay-Z saturated when Jay-Z tried to convince Jaz-O and fellow rapper Sauce Money to sign to Roc-A-Fella Records, with both rappers refusing. It is rumoured that they didn't sign to the label because they didn't trust Roc-A-Fella Records CEOs Damon Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke. Jaz was an important figure in the Nas vs. Jay-Z feud, and it is also speculated that Jaz-O supplied Nas with some of the information he used in his Jay-Z diss track "Ether". Despite the long standing feud between mentor and protégé, Jay-Z still gives Jaz-O credit for his success, although he disses him at the same time.

Discography[edit | edit source]

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