Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Run DMC: Talk This Way

Run DMC interview
Run DMC interview RUN DMC interview RUN DMC interview RUN DMC interview

More than three decades ago, three young men from Queens embarked on a journey which would change the face of hip-hop forever. At the peak of their careers, Run DMC sold millions of records, signed lucrative sponsorship deals and – most importantly – introduced new generations to rap music. But tragically in 2002, the legendary DJ Jam Master Jay was shot dead by an unknown gunman, and the remaining members, Reverend Run and DMC, announced the group was no more.

Run would go on to focus on his hugely popular "Run's House" reality TV show, balanced with his duties as an ordained minister, while DMC continued to record music, collaborating with largely rock and metal acts. But, with such a legacy behind them, it's not surprising that they like to get the band together every now and then to perform in front of a crowd.

In summer 2018 they hit the UK to play at London's Hammersmith Apollo and do a headline slot at the Nass Festival, where an enthusiastic crowd showed their brand of hip-hop remains hugely popular. Speaking backstage at the Nass Festival in Somerset, DMC reflected on how the billboards may say 'Run DMC', but the group could no longer offer the real thing. Leaning back in his dressing room, the rapper – real name Darryl McDaniels – said: "David Grohl, when Kurt (Cobain) passed away, he didn't keep Nirvana going. He started the Foo Fighters. "A band is supposed to evolve, but ours ended when Jay died. This show here isn't a Run DMC show per se. This is like Paul McCartney and Ringo showing up at a festival, but it's not The Beatles."

Asked what the future would hold for the duo, bandmate Run – [age updated] 56-year-old Joseph Simmons - said: "I'm not looking to make a new album because the catalogue speaks for itself. I love when Darryl's ready and we get a call from something like Nass, and we did the Isle of Wight, we just come and we rock it. We only do a couple a year, three, four or five a year. When Jay died we said we weren't going to do it anymore, but we made a choice years later to start going out a little bit - that same chemistry is there. The records carry me like they carry the crowd, it's like I'm doing karaoke, it's like I can fly."

DMC, now aged 56 [age updated], still speaks with the enthusiasm of the young rapper who changed the game forever back in the 1980s. "Our shows offer typical hip-hop, no glitz and glamour, just DJs and MCs. That's what kept Run DMC at the top of the game for so long until Jam Master Jay passed away. We never had pre-recorded things, we never had light shows. A lot of hip-hop now is highly energetic shows where the music plays and the people just jump around and the artist doesn't rap, they just yell." Describing what fans can expect from a Run DMC show, Run said the time for experimentation is passed. "I make sure to go to the catalogue, give them the records they know, that they can sing along with and have a good time”. Explaining further, ”I don't try to teach them some stuff, because the hits are so lovely, why would I go outside the catalogue that was so loved”.

You can read more from Dave Burke's interview with US hip-hop's finest DMC, from legendary rap outfit Run DMC, including what DMC thinks of today's hip-hop talent and recalls when Run DMC shot to worldwide fame and chart domination all in the latest issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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Words Dave Burke

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