I had the distinct honor of sitting down with the King of Rock, legendary MC Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC. We talked at length about past, present and future. in this segment, we talk of his battle with alcoholism, Run DMC’s comeback album, Down With the King and their implosion following the loss of DMC’s voice, and who turned their backs on him. Read or listen and see what’s good with the King of Rock.Planet Ill: You’ve experienced your highs and now comes the lows. Here comes the depression and the alcoholism. You’re on the road, you’re away from your family. You can’t see your babies because you’re touring. How do these things impact your life and how do they change you as a person?
DMC: It was fucked up. It was crazy but at the time I had my alcohol. That was my crutch. That kept me from dealing with those feelings and those emotions and those thoughts. It was just the alcohol. Drink that shit and show up. Drink that shit, show up. Drink that shit and throw up. It was a long period. I can’t say that it didn’t affect me but it all was covered by the alcoholism. But now that I’m sober, I can look back and say, “Damn I remember that day in ’91 when I was there. I should have did that, but I didn’t, but I’m thankful I’m alive.”
If I didn’t go through what I went through, I wouldn’t have the experience to look back on it and maybe help somebody else. Look, I had to go through that shit to be able to be here and look back on it> Imagine if that shit happened and I did what I was supposed to do at that time? I probably wouldn’t even be having this discussion with you. Cause my life would have took a different path. But to answer your question, for me personally, I had the alcoholism. Joe, he didn’t drink a lot but when he went through his bouts of depression, which eventually led him to become a reverend, he dealt with what he was dealing with at the same time.
I think what was bad about us, we talked about everything except each other. Joe’s going through some shit. D’s going through some shit. Jay never really went through shit till he got killed. Even when we did the Down With the King album, which was sort of our comeback, we had to decline and then we go work on this Down With the King Album. Run had just become a reverend, well he was a minister, wasn’t a reverend yet. And we making an album and this dude named Pete Rock comes along and saves us.
Down With the King is really the record that put us there permanently. Cause before that, it was like if you would say Run DMC, fuck them, they over whatever, whatever. But once Down With the King came in, even now that it’s gone when you say Run DMC we get the utmost love. That’s because this motherfucker Pete Rock took us to his basement in Mt. Vernon, said “I got an idea. I’mm’a play this music.” He put that beat on, told us “When DMC goes ‘Reporters clock, producers jock…’ Jay was like, “That’s the single!” And Russell didn’t even want it to be on the album!
The up and down I think it could have been less of a low to the whole organization, our lives, and the history of Run DMC if we would have sat down and dealt with everybody’s problems collectively. When Run was going through his shit, we didn’t say we had love for him. We’d be sitting in a room without Run and be saying whatever he needs, we’re there, but whenever it was us three we never said, “Yo Russell, yo Lyor, get the fuck out of here. How we gone deal with this stuff?”
If we would have put the same passion into our existence besides us being the group, cause Run said, even when he was out of depression was, “How do I get back; how do I get us back to where we was at?” And my thing was, but I didn’t speak up, cause I had the alcoholic problems, “How do we get where we’re supposed to be?” Then we win! When you think about Down With the King album, think about this. I didn’t know this until I was sober. Everybody except Pete Rock, who produced us on the Down With the King album, we sound like them. The record Naughty produced, we sound like Naughty. The record Q-Tip produced, we sound like Tribe Called Quest. The record EPMD produced, we sound like them. Pete Rock’s record was the only record. And on top of that, that’s when lyrics were getting more lyrical. Run was fucking busting his brain cells trying to rhyme better than Treach and Jay-Z and all these motherfuckers that was out.
Pete Rock told me, “Let me hear your rhyme? Yo D say that fucking rhyme and I’m going to put the echoes after that.” And that shit worked. I could have did that on every record since then and had gold and platinum on the wall. Not me trying to, you know when Crown Royal came along besides my voice problems, Joe was like, “I’mma get my cousin to write for you.” Cause his little cousin was writing, and he was like I’m with Russell Rush millions and I got Bentleys chrome spinning.” I was like hold up motherfucker I don’t like Bentleys. I got a pick-up truck. I don’t listen to this bullshit, I listen to Led Zeppelin. So right after the time we got away from do what you fucking do.
Planet Ill: Now Jam Master Jay that was a real dark thing. Shot in the head with no respect, everybody knows who did it, and nobody is saying nothing. You know, Hollis knows…
DMC: Yeah. When I go back to the neighborhood, they like, “Yo, what’s up, D? How you doing, you looking good.” I’m shaking hands and saying hi and in the back of my head I’m going, “Shit he could have did , oh he could have did it.” It’ s weird. It’s the weirdest thing when it happens to you. And it’s even weirder that even though Jay was a street dude, but even the streetest of the street dudes, regardless of what it is, you don’t shoot JAY for that shit.
Planet Ill; There gotta be SOME kind of respect…
DMC: RIGHT! And it’s not even respect. Jay ain’t got nothing to do with this bullshit. It’s like everybody in every neighborhood; you know all of my friends are in jail, dope dealers and killers. And those killers are the dudes that tell even when we was growing up in Hollis, “Yo D, yo run get the fuck off the corner! Ya’ll got things to do, ya’ll don’t need to be out here” Or even with Jay, even if Jay knew two dude who were selling drugs and was doing their fucking deal, they know Jay. Jay could be sitting in the damn room while they doing they transaction they know Jay ain’t with the shit! It’s just Jason, we went to school together. But the shit is weird because it’s real dark. I’m glad you said dark cause it ain’t, “Yo that shit was deep.” The shit was dark. Even the KILLER killers know that wasn’t right. Now it’s only right if Jay was the motherfucker that took your money shot you, if Jay robbed you, this and that, that’s a whole different story. But the shit is dark because that shit wasn’t right.
Planet Ill: All them people there, all them people who saw it…
DMC: Code of the streets, man, especially if motherfuckers know. And you know I still say this. It’s like, “Damn.” If you know, you’re like, “Damn they got fucking Jay, he travels. I gotta live here every day. So then you gotta think about that. And even if the dude that knows it, say he’s 40 now or whatever, he’s probably thinking about shit. If these motherfuckers would kill Jay, now these motherfuckers is ruthless. They don’t want to fist fight they don’t want to just handle this between me and you. They can shoot your baby daughter. It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s frightening. It’s deeper than snitching.