Run−D.M.C. started out as a group of three hip−hop loving friends from Hollis and evolved into the pioneers of the music genre.
On Saturday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland honored the surviving members of the group by inducting them into the museum’s 2009 class. Despite the fame and fortune Joseph “DJ Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and the late Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell achieved over the years, the two surviving members remained humble as the rock world paid its respects during the ceremony.
“The thing that goes through my mind is so much help, so many smart people,” Rev. Run said during his acceptance speech as he stood next to his rap partner, friends and family.
After the ceremony, D.M.C. remarked on how the induction was a win for young inner city artists around the world because it demonstrated that anyone can make it big if they follow their dreams.
“I tell kids don’t let your situation define who you are, especially the foster kids and homeless kids,” said D.M.C., who was adopted. “A lot of them think, ‘Oh, I’m just a foster kid no one loves me.’ But I’m living proof. What I represent tonight is purpose and destiny.”
The group started out performing in Hollis in the early 1980s and became a hit with the city’s hip−hop scene. Run−D.M.C.’s first self−titled album hit stores in 1984 and was a big hit with singles such as “Hard Times” and “It’s Like That.”
Their next albums, “King of Rock” and “Raising Hell,” went platinum and inspired a new generation of hip−hop artists, including Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, who introduced them at the ceremony.
“As soon as I heard ‘Run’s House,’ man, it was pretty much a rap for me. Marshall Mathers became Eminem,” he said.
With the emergence of the new media of music videos, the group reached listeners who had never heard hip−hop when their songs were played and promoted through outlets such as MTV. Run−D.M.C.’s cross−influence went further when Aerosmith recorded a remixed duet with the rap group of the rock band’s hit “Walk This Way.”
“They were going to get there one way or another. I’m glad to see them there,” said Jeff Beck, a guitarist and fellow inductee.
Unlike the other inductees, who included Metallica and Bobby Womack, Run and D.M.C. did not perform a number at the ceremony in memory of Jam Master Jay. The group’s turntablist was murdered in his Merrick Boulevard recording studio in 2002 while working with an artist. No one has been charged in the slaying.
Run brought Mizell’s mother to the stage during the induction and she was presented with her son’s award for the occasion.
“Mrs. Mizell let us create routines in her living room,” Run said. “She never told us to turn the music down once .... I would like you to thank you, Mrs. Mizell, for not turning the music down.”
D.M.C. encouraged young artists to keep hip−hop lyrics untainted by violence and hatred. The former St. John’s University student noted that Run−D.M.C.’s songs were about themes that resonated with their old Hollis neighborhood and people in other neighborhoods.
“We just knew that everybody in the hood ain’t a pimp and a drug dealer. So we rhymed about Mary, we rhymed about sneakers, we rhymed about school,” he said at a news conference following the ceremony. “What we talked about represented everybody.”
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@c
©2009 Community News Group
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