DMC Attributes Run-DMC’s “Downfall” to Negative Music, Urges Rick Ross To Own His Past (Audio)
As Hip-Hop continues to rapidly evolve, many of the messages being delivered to its fans today may raise a few eyebrows. This week’s The Library Podcast hosted by Tim Einenkel, features pioneering Rap star DMC. Speaking about contemporary Rap music as well as his own catalog with Run-DMC, the Queens, New York Rap King did not mince words.
The MC-turned-graphic novelist also known as Darryl McDaniels touched on how today’s rappers have the Internet at their disposal. According to Darryl, the web allows the artists to utilize what is provided to them online and gearing their discoveries toward their own music. From his vantage point, as somebody who helped deliver Rap from the counterculture underground to the mainstream, these days are also advantageous for pioneers. Speaking about the value of live shows by seasoned performers, DMC saw value for show-goers. “They experience something they never experienced before and they leave with something [different and lasting].”
For such a brief discussion, things got deeper, quickly. DMC expounded greatly on negativity in the Hip-Hop music content. The MC credits Public Enemy’s Chuck D as a prophet, who saw that negative messages would compromise the people and the art. The Hollis legend stresses that labels manipulate the messages of the artists.
Darryl continued, criticizing the merits of much of the mainstream Hip-Hop music that is celebrated. He looks at his own producers, the late Larry Smith, as well as Def Jam Records founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons. DMC believes they would agree that 90% of music played on the radio today would be categorized as “bullshit demos” to some of the very men who shaped the culture.
Staying in the current Rap conversation, DMC makes some powerful statements surrounding Rick Ross and the controversy behind his days working as a correctional officer, before portraying himself quite differently on Rap verses:
“Rick Ross being a correction officer? I could care less. The thing that I didn’t like about Rick Ross is ‘No, no I wasn’t a C.O.’ Oh, so there’s something the matter with a man having a job? That tells kids, it’s not cool to have a job that gives you benefits and take care of your family. So what’s that telling the kids? To be a drug dealer, rapper or athlete. It’s always deep than that.”
Speaking about the detriment of “negative records,” Darryl uses his own iconic group to illustrate—adding that he’s not immune to these mistakes either. Referencing Run-DMC’s 1990 Back From Hell album, DMC says, “We made negative records, and that was kind of our downfall. We did Back From Hell; we gonna rhyme about all this [hardcore subject matter]. That’s ’cause [Jam Master] Jay was in the streets. He did The Afros, he was with ONYX; me and Run were just Run-DMC.” All three Hollis, Queens artists grew up together, though JMJ famously developed the rougher-edged acts that DMC mentioned.
It is also interesting that the longtime Profile/Arista Records star calls the group’s fourth album a “downfall.” While the effort was a major commercial departure from 1988’s Tougher Than Leather (moving from #9 to #81), Run-DMC released two more studio albums after, 1993’s Down With The King, and 2001’s Crown Royal. The former of the two scored the gold certification that Back From Hell lacked.
Notably, DMC praises his tour-mates and fellow RUSH Management breakthrough acts, the Beastie Boys. “They left Def Jam when Def Jam was doing good; they had no beef! But they saw this coming, and went to Rick [Rubin] and Russell [Simmons], ‘We want to leave.’ ‘Why? Everything’s doing great.’ ‘That’s why we want to leave.” He points to the Beasties’ authenticity for their staying power. “When everything was changing? Who was able to come [to New York City and sell out the Madison Square] Garden two nights in a row? The Beastie Boys. Doing what? Doing what they always did.” The Beastie Boys only released one album with the label associated with their discovery: (the now-diamond-certified Licensed To Ill).
As an MC who made famous Rap lyrics about higher education and family values, does DMC have a point about Rick Ross’ dodging his past? Do you think Back From Hell led to the iconic trio’s creative demise?