Top Stars To Salute Run-D.M.C. At Billboard Awards

Nelly, P. Diddy, Nas, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith are slated to appear at an all-star tribute to Run-D.M.C. and its late DJ Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) at the 2002 Billboard Music Aw

When Jam Master Jay was tragically murdered Oct. 30 in his Queens, N.Y., recording studio, it marked the end of Run-D.M.C., one of the most influential groups in pop music. Several superstars are coming together at the Billboard Music Awards for an all-star tribute to the legendary hip-hop combo. Among the artists slated to appear are Nelly, P. Diddy, Nas, and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, who revived their band's career with a 1986 remake of "Walk This Way" with Run-D.M.C. More artists are expected to be added.

Joseph "Run" Simmons, and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and Jay (aka Jason Mizell) formed Run-D.M.C. in 1982. The trio landed a number of hits, including "My Adidas," "King of Rock," and "Down With the King." Run-D.M.C. paved the way for a number of rap acts to follow into the mainstream by being the first such group to appear on "Saturday Night Live" and "American Bandstand."

The Billboard Music Awards appearance is expected to be one of the last together by Simmons and McDaniels, who announced the group's retirement shortly after Jam Master Jay's death. Simmons said, "As a tribute to the positive legacy of Jam Master Jay, we started together and we want the Run-D.M.C. legacy to always reflect the three of us together."

As previously reported, the awards ceremony will be held Dec. 9 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena and will be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed on the West Coast).

Comedian Cedric "The Entertainer" will host; Justin Timberlake, Faith Hill, Avril Lavigne, Creed, Nelly, and Puddle Of Mudd will all perform.