In the pulsating heart of Hollis, Queens, a legendary tale unfolded—one that would etch the names Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell into music history. As the pioneers of a genre dismissed by critics as a fleeting trend, RUN DMC not only revolutionized hip-hop but became cultural trailblazers, shattering racial barriers and emerging as global icons. Fans get an unprecedented insight into the highs, the lows, and the immeasurable legacy left by this unparalleled rap group in Peacock’s “Kings From Queens: The RUN DMC Story.” In an exclusive interview with Baller Alert, DMC delved into the untold chapters, the challenges, what he would want RUN DMC’s legacy to mean to future generations, and who caught his eye in the rap game.
A number of powerhouse hip-hop artists share how the iconic rap group inspired their creative process in the documentary. Ice Tea to Eminem, their music spread far and wide, but DMC says he wasn’t aware of their impact until watching the film.
“We were so busy being Run DMC, we never got to experience what was [really] going on because we were the ones doing it. So when you look at this video, everybody from Ice Tea, all the way to Chuck, the public enemy, and everybody in between was talking about this Run DMC phenomenon thing,” DMC said about the experience of watching the documentary and reflecting on commentary from other musicians throughout the film.
“So now I’m able to sit back and not look at myself and experience the thing that we was doing, not only through hip hop and rock and roll musically but more importantly culturally,” he added. “For all of the accomplishments and things that we did, I’m able to see [that] I knew what I was doing. I was just making some cool rhymes over some cool beats, wow, that’s what was happening. Whoa. Ice Cube, all the way out in LA, was influenced [by us] that way,” he said.
With young and fresh artists emerging, DMC admitted to pulling on New York artist Joey Badass if he had to choose a younger rapper to work with.
“If I had a chance to collab out of everybody, the newest artist right now for me is Joey Badass,” he said. “I see authenticity in Joey Badass.”
While DMC gave Joey his flowers for being a multi-hyphenated star in acting and music, he says that the 29-year-old doesn’t give off a ‘celebrity’ flare. “He’s quietly one of the killer snippers of the hip hop culture because he makes good music, and he represents. [That’s] what I like about Joey. He lives up to his responsibility as somebody they call ‘hip hop.’ There’s a lot of people in hip hop that are not hip hop,” he explained.
When speaking about what three RUN DMC songs he would put into a capsule for future generations to understand their legacy, he named “Rockbox,” “Here We Go,” and “Down with the King.” The 59-year-old says his selections each have a unique purpose.
Rockbox is for “the younger generation to understand you don’t have to be like anybody else. It’s crazy that the number one rapper – the number one so-called hip hop artist in hip hop — sounds like everybody below him,” DMC said.
As a foundation for artists, “Here We Go” signifies what it means to be a creator and reach the masses no matter where you come from. “It’s not about recording and selling records. It’s about coming from any place on the face of the earth with some music and getting out there and making it a hit,” he said.
Last but not least, when it comes to the final capsule selection, “Down with the King” is the perfect example of being authentically yourself at all times. DMC boasts about their 80s group successfully creating a hit album in the 90s, although the sound was growing and changing with its upcoming generation of aspiring talent.
“To let people know that listen; old school isn’t a time period. It was how we artistically, consciously, and creatively expressed who we are. ‘Down with the King’ came out in the 90s, when hip hop had changed. I’m from an 80s group. I’m an OG. Me, Run, and J, we were the OG’s. But [then] you got Pac, you got Biggie, you got Ice Cube, Eminem, and you got Jay Z,” he added.
“It was a new sound produced by Pete Rock. But all I had to do was show up and be the person that I was. I didn’t rhyme about guns. I didn’t rhyme about drugs. I didn’t compromise my integrity so that people could love this ’80s guy’ in the game with a new vibe and a new sound. This is what you all do, but you don’t do it like this. And I did the same thing that I did when I was twelve years old in my living room,” he concluded.
“Kings From Queens: The RUN DMC Story” provides an in-depth look at the iconic group’s journey and will be exclusively available on Peacock starting Thursday, Feb 1.