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DMC Stands For Devastating Mic Control
The king of rock
It was 1985, just six years after Chicago’s Disco Demolition Night, when a crowd of thousands gathered in Comiskey Park with hate in their eyes and hearts. The monstrous crowd gathered to seal the fate of the long-standing disco movement by burning its albums and music cassettes en masse. It was a rebellion in the truest sense of the word, not like a negative appearance against a certain style of music before. This was no simple slide through the charts; it was an execution.
Disco is dead.
The era of heavy metal had truly begun. The Bee Gees, the official former kings of the airwaves, are no longer alive. Their bass lines and soaring vocals were on fire in a fiery Disco Inferno fueled by an overly happy long-haired rocker.
This wasn’t Kung Fu Fighting. No. The war between disco and rock that raged from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties is finally over. The rock was victorious and claimed the throne at the top of the mountain, its only challenger vanquished.
Who else dares to challenge the king?
Blues? “Will he come again?”
Country? “Are you serious?”
How about rap? “Rap? What is rap?”
Rap was still a very new and relatively unknown commodity, largely ignored by mainstream audiences, critics, and radio stations. Most of the emerging forms of music sales could not be tracked precisely, as most performers sell their material from the trunk of their cars, and failed to sign a record deal.
Distributors stared blankly at rappers while listening to demos. The so-called experts lacked the vision to see and understand the music that would eventually start a revolution. Backing into a corner was clearly the only way forward.
Some brave entrepreneurs started their own rap labels. One was known as Sugarhill Records. It received modest distribution and was the label that released what many have called “The First Real Rap Song”. Sugarhill Gang’s Rappers Delight was the best-received rap single to date.
In retrospect, some define this moment as the official beginning of rap music, with the classic single gaining airplay, peaking at number thirty-eight on the music charts and being available in many stores.
The Sugarhill Gang was knocking on the door for a legitimate entry into the music world, but a 20-year-old rapper simply known as DMC wasn’t content with tapping his fingers on the door. He wrapped his hand around the doorknob and opened it.
No problem for Darryl Mcdaniels, who along with fellow rapper Joseph “Run” Simmons and DJ Jam Master Jay released the Run DMC album on Profile Records in the spring of 1984.
No one seemed to know what to make of him. Run DMC was unlike anything before them. A group of three black men from Hollis Queens defied all classification. They weren’t rock, although some of their songs had electric guitars. There were no discos.
Who are they? What style of music is Run DMC?
“Oh rap.” I think I’ve heard of it.
The trio slowly gained a bigger audience and caught on with their catchy combination of back-and-forth rhyming between Run and DMC, laid down by Jay’s deft record scratching and 808 drum machine beats. Throw in some samples and the occasional guitar riff and you had a fresh new sound that cried out to be listened to.
Run DMC will not be denied, nor will their historic first release, which has sold well over three million copies. Things haven’t blown up for Run DMC yet, but it was only a matter of time.
The door was ajar, but the rap music was still only a foot inside. Rock music still looked uneasily down the hill at rap music and laughed. The reigning king felt no threat. There can be no challenge to the throne unless someone from the rap world is ready to make a big move.
Enter the DMC section to the left.
Slavery may have been abolished in 1862 and racial equality was what it was all about, but it only took a quick glance at the music charts to show that the glaring divide was still present. White artists dominated the radio. The number of black rock bands was minimal, and the number of chart-topping groups was almost non-existent.
Run DMC ultimately changed the face of the music world and helped bridge the gap between racism by promoting racial equality—no favoritism either way—and becoming celebrities in an era that embraced the opposite of what they embodied.
Forget rock. Forget rap.
Run DMC transcended musical style and classification to change the face of the music world at a defining moment when Darryl Mcdaniels mustered the courage for the entire rap community to pull off a bull’s-eye act. his back. He easily risked being dead.
It looked like suicide.
In a year when rock music sold to a predominantly Caucasian audience was in the millions, Run DMC released their sophomore album. In the title track, a confident DMC spits out five words, unaccompanied, that changed the musical scenario forever.
The young man who inspired so many to come after him made an undeniably thought-provoking statement when he belted five simple words acapella into the microphone all those years ago.
In the world of politics and government, there was Martin Luther King with the famous words, “I have a dream.”
The world of music has its equivalent, and the quote goes to Darryl Mcdaniels. His five words, as powerful as King’s four words, continue to inspire while reaching a whole new audience. No one can ever forget the first time they heard DMC say the last words they ever expected to hear from a black man’s mouth.
“I’m the king of rock!”
Darryl Mcdaniels was a legend.
The statement was so powerful; it was used to name the album and was largely responsible for its eventual platinum status.
DMC continued the theme with his next lyric, “There is none higher”, in case anyone missed the fact that he really is the king of rock and the blazing electric guitar that pulsed through the track and the album – which was only described as a groundbreaking masterpiece – didn’t was enough to convince.
Rock music was on the ropes; if he wanted to survive, he had to dope a rope. He got his help from a very unlikely source.
Instead of putting up a fight, Run DMC continued to merge rock and rap, extending the olive branch to a group of fallen-from-grace rockers whose best days were well behind them, buried in the 1970s. Aerosmith has made some lackluster records since then and hasn’t had a hit in nearly a decade.
Mcdaniels and co joined forces with the struggling rockers and recorded a classic remake of an old Aerosmith hit. Walk This Way proved to be an even bigger seller the second time around, helping Run DMC’s third release, Raising Hell, go platinum internationally.
Run DMC didn’t appear to be battling rock for musical supremacy, but if anyone was keeping score; it was easy to see who the king really was.
It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride for the young men who made Adidas a phenomenon. Since the release of Raising Hell over twenty years ago, the superstars have released four more albums, all of which have achieved platinum status.
Unfortunately, the trio was reduced to two on October 30. In 2002, when the legendary Jam Master was called to his maker.
Joseph “Run” Simmons is now known as Reverend Run. The new man of the cloth, when he’s not filming his hit reality TV show, still finds time to rock the mic with his oft-imitated but never-repeated performance skills. His solo release Distortion satisfied many fans’ desire for a new Run DMC record.
After years spent at St. John’s University, DMC is set to match his partner in crime, and the Reverend will even appear on a few tracks from the King Of Rock’s solo debut, Checks, Thugs and Rock -N-Roll.
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