Backstage ahead of Run DMC’s performance at Isle of Wight Festival. DMC explained the reason for Run DMC’s career that’s spanned over 30 years and inspired several generations. “We didn’t use profanity, we didn’t disrespect women, we didn’t glorify violence. We made good music. That gave us the power to stomp, crush and completely annihilate anything negative. Basically we had a positive attitude and the music that we did would cross age barriers, race barriers and even music barriers.”
Run DMC famously collaborated with Aerosmith to produce ‘Walk this Way’ back in 1986. This track featured on their album ‘Raising Hell’, their breakthrough album that achieved triple platinum status. DMC said “By hooking up with Aerosmith, our music brought people together”.
Thinking about the current artists in the industry today DMC talked about his new album coming out later this year. “DMC the LP but the DMC doesn’t stand for me. It stands for Dynamic Musical Collaborations. Speaking of collaborations; I have a collaboration with Joan Jett, Sammy Hagar, Chuck D of Public Enemy and with Miles Kennedy; one of the greatest voices in rock produced by John Moyer, the bass player from Disturbed. I have a collaboration with Tim Armstrong from Rancid, Rome from sublime and with Justin Furstenfield from Blue October. This albums going to be crazy.”.
With an album full of fantastic and established names DMC highlighted that he’s “Trying to make music that’s not based on celebrity anymore”. Despite Joan Jett featuring on the new album, ‘DMC the LP’. He makes the point that “it’s not a big deal because it’s me and Joan Jett, it’s a big deal because it’s a good song that just happened to be done by us.”
In over 30 years the genre of Rap and Hip Hop has changed dramatically from the days where Run DMC played a significant part in stapling what the genre was about. “Now it seems that music is this big business, especially Hip Hop that’s this big successful commercial entity now and everybody’s looking at everything except the thing that makes the thing exist”.
Explaining the changes further DMC said “the sincerity and the motivation and the responsibility is lacking. So when responsibility is lacking it gets boring and monotonous. It doesn’t have any creative innovation, because it has to be sparked with a youthful childlike attitude that’s just going to do creative things in order for you to have fun. The reason that sounds so complicated is cos’ I’m a grown man. But I gotta tell the younger generation and all other generations that we were young people making music that everybody can listen to now.”
“In my generation the typical rapper, we were DJ’s and MC’s, but that all changed into being a rapper when it became the entertainment business. When we were growing up the typical rapper was 12-21 years old. When we made records we talked about history and politics and current events and social issues. We had humour and comedy but it was a universal vision that made Hip so appealing and everybody was like ‘what is this music’. Now thats missing because everybody has a destination to be doing what the other person’s already doing.”
Speaking about the current Rap and Hip Hop music being produced DMC said “Everybody can rap but there should be a uniqueness in the concepts and the messages. We don’t need 50 people rhyming about violence. If we have one group rhyming about the violence then the other group should be rhyming about none violence. But now whats happening is ‘wow he made a load of money rhyming about violence, so I’m going to rhyme about violence. Look Run DMC came along and all we did. Like we’re not geniuses. All we did was look and say OK they’re over James Brown, cos’ James brown always had a funky drummer beat for the rapper to run his raps over.”
“They sampled a lot of funk, a lot of disco a lot of R ’n’ B. So when me Run and J came along we said ‘hey nobody’s rhyming over Rock. It was that simple. But because we saw it was that simple and we did it everybody thought it was this big thing. Then we took it another step and said ‘ not only are we going to rap over the Rock we’re going to do it with the group that made the rock’ and that’s what we did.”
Interview – Run DMC performing Isle Wight Festival 2017.
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