Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels reflects on his Hollis, Queens, roots


Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels reflects on his Hollis, Queens, roots

Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels reflects on his Hollis, Queens, roots


NEW YORK — Hollis, Queens’, very own Run-DMC is headlining Friday’s big hip-hop concert at Yankee Stadium.

CBS New York’s Maurice DuBois spoke with DMC — Darryl McDaniels. He’s involved in a lot of ventures these days, but he says his heart will always be in Hollis.

Before they were kings, Run-DMC first connected in Queens.

Seeing his old house, McDaniels said, “It makes me forget I’ve done all the stuff that I’ve done in my life.”

McDaniels has done a whole lot.

Run-DMC were the first rappers to have a gold album back in 1984 and were the first rap act to appear on MTV, and the first to fuse rap with rock.

“When I first heard hip-hop, I was like, oh, shoot, you can tell stories over music about who you are, and not be ashamed. Because the only thing that I was connected with when I was younger was comic books because comic books was the only time I saw geeky, nerdy, confused, awkward people who were badass was in a comic book, Peter Parker,” McDaniels said. “But when hip-hop came, I just started writing rhymes. So Joe comes over, we DJing the 11th time in the basement. I’m like, oh, man, I forgot to put my rhyme book away. He finds it. He says, yo, this is really good. And then he says this to me: ‘When my brother lets me make a record, I’m putting you in my group.”

Joe, of course, is Joseph Simmons, best known as Reverend Run.

The home’s current owner invited DuBois and McDaniels in so they could see firsthand where the magic happened.

“It was on a regular kitchen table — two turntables, a mixer. Speakers and the record. We did everything right there,” McDaniels said.

DMC’s roots run deep in Hollis.

“So when wasn’t here, we was in an alleyway around the corner,” McDaniels said. “Yo, the alley is where on ‘My Adidas’ we say, ‘We started in the alley, now we chill in Cali. And I won’t trade my Adidas for no beat up Bally’s.'”

DuBois and McDaniels took a trip to that very alleyway.

“This was like the hangout spot,” McDaniels said.

“I’m sure the neighbors loved it, right? They loved having kids back here,” DuBois said.

“Yeah. Some of them would pour water down on us, but we would come right back,” McDaniels said.

“What was the vibe? What was the flow? What was the feeling?” DuBois asked.

“You roller skate, you play basketball, you go to school, you eat dinner, and you do this hip-hop thing,” McDaniels said.

Run-DMC’s “hip-hop thing” hit the scene in 1983 with their first record, “Sucker M.C.’s.”

“Raising Hell” was their third studio album, and it hit number one on Billboard’s R&B chart, the first hip-hop album to do so.

The mega-hit remix of “Walk This Way” brought hip-hop to an even wider audience. Their version made it to number four on the charts; Aerosmith got to 10.

But still, it was Hollis, DMC’s upbringing, as well as his own self-professed nerd tendencies that had the greatest influence on his rhymes.

“All my rhymes was always family, school, and things that I did,” McDaniels said. “My rhymes were crazy because most rhymes was, you know, it’s the ghetto and this and that. ‘I take the bus that they call the Q2. They are white and green and sometimes blue.’ Remember, the buses used to be green in New York City? So my rhymes was all about domestic life. … When I heard it on the records and I heard it on a tapes, these boys and girls had nothing. The Bronx was burning. I had everything. I had both parents. But it was all about everything I got, ‘I go in my backyard and I play ball, yes, yes y’all.'”

Beyond making music history and selling millions of records, there’s DMC’s work with kids and charitable foundations, his new children’s book and comic book series.

It’s that connection to family and community that’s still central to how DMC lives his life today, setting the tone as “Young DMC” on Nickelodeon, and playing himself on “That Girl Lay Lay.”

On their walk through Hollis, he was spotted by a young superfan who recognized him from “That Girl Lay Lay.” McDaniels took the time to sign an autograph and take a picture.

“That’s got to blow your mind. It’s not that it doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s still got to blow your mind,” DuBois said.

“No, right, it does. It’s always… It never gets old,” McDaniels said.

“Talk about the culture here — clothing, music, movies. It is so transformative. If you look at pre-hip-hop, and if you look at the present day, it is night and day,” DuBois said.

“To be able to express yourself and represent yourself in your community, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” McDaniels said.

“Responsibility to?” DuBois asked.

“To the boys and girls that created the culture,” McDaniels said. “I don’t want people to respect because I made it in show business. I want people to respect me because I was able to kick down, crashed through walls, come through floors, bust through ceilings and knock down doors, and leave the doors open for everybody else to follow.”


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