D.M.C. Pays Respect To “The Real Pioneers Of Rap” (Video)

During the mid-1980s, Run-D.M.C. helped put Hip-Hop music and culture in new places across the globe. D.M.C., Run, and the late Jam Master Jay were cultural ambassadors with hit records that brought the grit and fashion of the New York City streets to the worldwide mainstream. While Run-D.M.C. pioneered many things (including sneaker sponsorship, major Rock & Roll collaborations, and more), the Profile Records superstars knew that there were Hip-Hop artists for a decade before they burst on the scene with 1983’s “Hard Times” b/w “Sucker M.C.’s.” After all, Run’s career began as one of Kurtis Blow’s DJ, “The Son Of Kurtis Blow.”

Speaking to Forbes, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels was blunt on the subject. “Run-D.M.C. were really not pioneers,” he opens. “What I mean by that was…exactly the biggest thing Run-D.M.C. did was…I [said] it on our record, [‘My Adidas’]: ‘We took the beat from the street / And we put it on TV.‘ Real pioneers, they really don’t get their just due is Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa and the [Universal] Zulu Nation, Treacherous 3, Funky 4 + 1, Cold Crush [Brothers]…everybody before Run-D.M.C. are the pioneers. They’re the ones that created this. We were just fortunate that when we put our records out, this thing called MTV came along. Like Busta Rhymes says, ‘When you look in the dictionary at “Hip-Hop” you see Run-D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay.’ We were the physical manifestation of what Hip-Hop is. When we was on TV, globally, it was new to the world. It wasn’t new to us. To us, it was five, six, seven, eight years old.”

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D.M.C. adds that the trio stripped early Rap of its pageantry and brought its dress and portrayal closer to reality. “Another thing that that was significant about Run-D.M.C., when you saw our presentation… we were these Hip-Hop gods, but when you saw Run-D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay, you didn’t see celebrity. You saw yourself.”

In 1984, Run-D.M.C. worked with Kurtis Blow, an elder Rap pioneer, courtesy of Blow’s New York-inspired single “8 Million Stories.” Although Blow (who was managed by Run’s brother, Russell Simmons) has a professional recording career that dates back to 1979, he too was commercially successful career. His 1980 Mercury Records track “The Breaks” is Rap’s first gold-certified single.

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Another one of the groups D mentioned, Treacherous Three, included Kool Moe Dee. As a Jive Records artist, he achieved one gold and one platinum album in the late 1980s.

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Later in the Forbes interview, D.M.C. discusses his group’s commitment to innovation. The group is presently immersed in a $50 million lawsuit for those infringing on its trademark logo. In recent years, outside of music, D.M.C. has become a Marvel author.