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As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, it’s only right that we tap in with one of the icons that helped to make the culture a worldwide phenomenon. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame member of the group Run-DMC is indeed a living icon. From the time that “Rock Box” hit the streets to all the classics like “Hard Times”, “Sucker MC’s”, “Jam Master Jay”, “King of Rock”, “You Be Illin’”, “Peter Piper”, “My Adidas”, I could go on and on with all of the jams that have impacted our lives. In this exclusive interview with our own Todd Davis, DMC opens up about the culture of Hip-Hop.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?

 

50 years of Hip Hop.…and, I’ve been around for 40 of them! It’s crazy it’s at the half century mark! We’ve accomplished a lot, but we still have more work to do! We’ve made some good money, but the responsibilities that come with being part of this magnificent culture have been pushed to the side. And, this is evident because most of these celebrations only seem to revolve around those of us that made records! Being a part of the “recording industry” has helped speed up the spread and reach of the culture, and I’m definitely happy for that! But, where are the celebrations of ALL the parts of our culture? Graffiti, Breakdancing, Deejays and also Beatboxing! The music industry should be underwriting ALL the events! They’ve profited off the culture from a musical standpoint greatly! That’s why we only focus on us folks that made music! They need to fund every event and celebration of this 50th Anniversary! Celebrate Lady Pink! Futura! Ramellezee! Rock Steady! Zulu Nation! Sha-Rock, Grand Wizzard Theodore and many, many more true pioneers of our culture that deserve to be talked about NOW!!!!

Last year saw the release of your Bumpy Knuckles’ laced single, “Me and My Microphone” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition? And it’s my understanding that Ice and his metal band Body Count are currently in the process of executing a remix?

Bumpy Knuckles is one of the best lyricists in the culture. He’s worked with some of our greatest producers; from DJ Premier to Pete Rock. And he’s worked side by side with some of the best to pick up a mic! That being said, he’s also one hell of a producer himself! He made the track, and something spoke to his spirit; he had to get 3 distinct voices who represent the broad spectrum of emcees of our culture.

He asked me if I would put a verse on it and when I did, he said he had to get Chuck D and Ice -T on it! I said, “Oh my god, You Better!!!!

And, yes, Ice is working on a Body Count remix!!! Heavy Metal, Baby!!!

We packing!!!

“Me and My Microphone” comes courtesy of your still forthcoming solo opus, America — Conceptually. what does this title represent both to and for you? And a lot of big names – largely of the Rock variety – are already attached to this record; i.e., Joan Jett, Sammy Hagar, Mick Mars, Duff McKagan, Travis Barker and Sebastian Bach — How have you even been determining who you want to make the album?

This America project came together completely organic, unplanned and unscripted. I just started running into these iconic artists.

From the Bumpy song, to the song with Blacktop Mojo. The first song we did was “She Gets Me High,” a “Black Betty” remake. We thought to sample some of the song at first, but then the producer, Sonix, said we have to do this over with live musicians and add our own music and lyrics! The Rock Gods were listening! I ran into Sebastian…then Mick…then Travis, and when all we needed was someone to play bass….Sebastian reached out to Duff, who came through and murdered the track! I also did Sammy Hagar’s (Rock & Roll) Road Trip show, where we performed his Montrose song “Rock Candy,” that led us to making another new song for the album. I met up with Joan (Jett) when she was in New York one day, and she was like, “let’s go in the studio and do something together.” We are like little kids who say, “I’m coming over to play!” I have a song called “Bun-DMC,”

With me and Bun B and my friend Marco Polo. Fun, fun music!!!

How then does America either differ and / or compare to previous DMC efforts?

This America album is just an organic collection of music that represents the diversity, beauty, uniqueness and unity that exist in the world. This is just a fun record that’s needed in this time of meanness, ignorance, and division.

As a lyricist, when you sit down to pen your rhymes where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by what I experience, how I’m feeling, something I hear or something I see. I’m always writing. I’m always listening! I’m loving Tom Waits right now!

What exactly do you want people to get from your music?

I make music that I want to perform. I’ve never made music to sell.

When I write a rhyme, it’s written so I can say it on a mic one day. A song is written to perform one day.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Me and Sir Paul McCartney! He’s from The Beatles, and they say Run-DMC are The Beatles of Hip Hop.

If you could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Two venues that are not around anymore. CBGB! I’ve been there twice, but never got to play there myself! Saw some bands there, and used the legendary bathroom! And, Harlem World (Club) in Harlem. My idols and the best Hip Hop group ever, the Cold Crush Brothers blessed that stage with some of the most iconic performances in Hip Hip, along with my other favorite groups and artists. My Hip Hop baptism is a little incomplete because I never got to play there myself. But, I did go to Rice High School, so I did get to walk by there and touch the wall!

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

Without “the music business,” there would still be Hip Hop. So I don’t judge Hip Hop’s success or greatness from the music business viewpoint. We definitely need responsibility to be in the forefront.

I’m still writing and reciting just like I did in my basement, bedroom and lunchroom many years ago, and will continue to do so forever! I have my Cold Crush , Theodore and Force MCs tapes on blast! So Hip Hop is doing just fine for me all the time!

I’m happy about Hip Hop because I am Hip Hop!

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity? 

The key to my longevity is that I don’t think about longevity. I just be!

 

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment that you haven’t tackled yet?

I’m already making comic books!

As we speak, I’m starting the Darryl Makes Cookies cookie company!

The Koolest Cookies In The Universe! I love cookies – they’re for kids and grown-ups, too! They’re really, really, really good tasting, and will bring a smile to everyone’s face!!! Let’s make the universe a happy place! Darryl Makes Cookies coming to a supermarket and store near you! Globally!!!

There’s also a Run-DMC documentary in the works — anything you can reveal and / or divulge about it at this particular point in time?

This documentary is going to be very interesting. It’s a 3- or 4-part documentary, I think. And, what’s good about documentaries is you can get more into and out of it than you can with a biopic. So I hope it’s informative enough.

To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s)?

Hard to answer…but I would say knocking down the walls that separates- like Steven Tyler did with his mic stand in the “Walk This Way” video! Bringing white and black, young and old, and Rock ‘n’ Roll and Hip Hop together!

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? 

Don’t follow in my footsteps! Create your own path!

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you all see yourself? And what’s next for DMC?

5 or 10 years from now, I see myself on stage with my band, DMC and The Hellraisers, somewhere, performing with The Royal Machines somewhere, or me rockin’ the mic at a comic con!!!

I’m working on a musical and a film about my life, so everyone will be experiencing that soon!

Run-DMC headlined Hip Hop 50 Live on Aug. 11, is it really the “Bottom of the 9th … the Walk-Off,” grand finale?

Did The Beatles ever perform together again after their rooftop performance?

Anything I forgot to mention- or any “parting” words for our readers?

“Kingdom Come” is a new song I actually released on Aug 11th.

“She Gets Me High,” featuring Sebastian Bach, Mick Mars, Travis Barker, Duff McKagan, and me is coming out in September! And, America the album, songs from the folks for the folks, will follow soon after in 2024, with a vinyl release first! Nothing is final unless It’s on vinyl! And, I have another book coming out with Nickelodeon and Random House Kids to follow up my children’s book out now called Darryl’s Dream.

More Info: www.thekingdmc.com

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A WCS HipHop50 Exclusive with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels

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