Why Run-DMC, Hip-Hop's Greatest Trio, Was Almost a One-Man Show
Run-DMC members, Run, DMC and Jam Master Jay (Photo: Getty Images)
Run-DMC, hip-hop's most famous rap trio, was almost a solo act.
Darryl "DMC" McDaniels had to win the approval of the group's manager to secure his spot, the Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductee told Yahoo Music Wednesday on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Run-DMC's self-titled debut album.
DMC's revelation is surprising, considering the group's massive success. Along with Joseph "Run" Simmons and their late DJ, Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, Run-DMC's self-titled debut album broke a number of records. It is the first rap album to be certified gold, receive a Grammy nomination, and land a video ("Rock Box") on MTV.
According to DMC, Russell Simmons, the group's manager and Run's elder brother, didn't think he had the chops to cut it as a rap star.
Run fought for him to be a part of the group, and before recording their first single, "It's Like That," Run informed DMC of the dilemma.
"Run said, 'D, I'm going to put you in the group. Russell don't want you in the group. He doesn't like your voice. He don't think you're an MC, but I told him if he don't put you in the group, I was going to hold my breath until I turned blue, and I damn near died last night, so Russell said, 'OK, he could be in the group.'"
Despite Run's support, DMC didn't feel secure, saying that even though his vocals were on "It's Like That," Russell planned to have Run perform the song as a solo artist.
DMC definitely felt pressure in the studio the night they recorded the song. "The whole session, Russell was doing this, 'Get out of the way. D, go sit in the lounge. You only here because Joey want you here.'"
Run was determined to prove his brother wrong. The night they recorded "Sucker MCs," Run ignored Russell's demands that DMC get out of the control room and pushed DMC to record a verse for the song. DMC, who was still in high school, was nervous about catching Russell's wrath and upsetting his parents for staying out too late. He wanted to go home before recording, but Run told him to stick around.