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run dmc

Run-D.M.C. is arguably the greatest group in hip-hop history. They were the first rap group to receive a gold plaque, the first to earn a platinum album, the first to star on MTV, the first to become a household name . and, for two generations of rap fans, they are the face and sound of '80s hardcore hip-hop. Their backgrounds, however, are not those of the stereotypical MC: All three members - Run (Joseph Simmons), D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels), and Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) - are products of solidly middle-class upbringings in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. Simmons is the youngest of the three sons of educator Daniel Simmons and his wife, Evelyn. Growing up in the '70s with brothers Russell (the legendary co-founder of the Def Jam empire) and Daniel Jr. in Hollis, he learned to adopt a streetwise posture without abandoning his virtues. "I went to school every day, but I was cool with everyone," he told New York magazine in 1986. "So I could hang, play basketball, and be down with [classmates], then go home and do my homework." While Joe attended school, the older Russell began establishing a reputation throughout New York, first as a promoter of rap shows and then as a manager. When Russell brought his first major artist, Harlem, N.Y.-bred Kurtis Blow, to his parents' house, Blow and Joe struck up an acquaintance. "I know my brother and Kurt were having a great time . I wanted to be with them," Simmons - nicknamed Run for "running at the mouth" - told Rolling Stone in 1986. Soon, Run began DJing for Kurtis Blow as "DJ Run Love, the Son of Kurtis Blow" at area rap shows in the early '80s. Meanwhile, Run shared tapes of his concert appearances with childhood friend and fellow comic book aficionado Darryl McDaniels, the son of an engineer and a nurse. Run coerced McDaniels to perform onstage with him: "The first time I got onstage with [Run] was at some teenage club on the corner in Hollis," McDaniels later recalled. "He just handed me the mic and said, 'Rhyme for an hour.' I ran out [of rhymes] pretty soon, but I got better." The two kept in touch as Run entered LaGuardia Community College to study mortuary science and McDaniels went to St. John's University. They pulled in another friend, DJ Jam Master Jay, to complement them. In 1983, the three released their first single, "It's Like That," on indie label Profile. The 12-inch garnered enormous acclaim from local B-boys and became a national hit. The B-side, "Sucker MC's," with its unusual (for the time) minimalist beat and advanced rhyme style, is considered by many hip-hop lovers to be the first hardcore rap song. Run-D.M.C. released two more singles: "Hard Times" and "Rock Box." The video for the latter, a hard rock number with buzzing guitar riffs, earned the group airplay on MTV, a rare feat for black entertainers, in rap or otherwise, at the time. Run-D.M.C.'s ensuing 1984 self-titled first album later became the first rap album to go gold. Russell Simmons had by then formed Rush Management and a record label, Def Jam, with producer Rick Rubin. Simmons packaged Run-D.M.C. along with other early '80s rap stars like Newcleus, Whodini, and UTFO for the first of several "Fresh Fests," one of the first cross-country rap tours. Onstage, dressed in black jeans, unlaced Adidas sneakers, and fedoras, Run-D.M.C. made a huge impression on legions of kids discovering rap for the first time. Coupled with rock-rap singles like "Rock Box" and "King of Rock" and MTV airplay, Run-D.M.C. quickly became the first hip-hop crossover group. The group's second album (which would eventually go platinum), 1985's King of Rock, featured hits like the title track, "You Talk Too Much," and "Can You Rock It Like This," the latter including ghostwritten lyrics by a then-16-year-old LL Cool J. Run-D.M.C.'s growing success allowed them to perform at Bob Geldof's high-profile Live Aid concert - they were the only rap group to do so - and to contribute vocals to the all-star Sun City project by the Artists United Against Apartheid. In early 1986, Run-D.M.C. starred in Krush Groove, a film co-starring the Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J, and then-unknowns the Beastie Boys. Loosely based on Russell Simmons' life as an industry maverick, the film found Run playing the romantic rival of Blair Underwood as the two angled for Sheila E's - she of "The Glamorous Life" fame - affections. Unfortunately, the film's release sparked violence in theaters across the country, including a riot in Nassau County, N.Y. Despite the subsequent negative publicity surrounding the group, Run-D.M.C. recorded and released Raising Hell in 1986. It marked a watershed moment in hip-hop history and signaled rap's final evolution from electro- and hi-NRG-dance music to tough drum machine beats and scratching effects. Raising Hell quickly became the biggest-selling album in rap history, landing at No. 3 on the Billboard charts and selling well more than 3 million copies on the strength of singles like "My Adidas" and "Walk This Way," an audacious remake with the song's originators, Aerosmith. "Walk This Way," for its part, not only became the first top 10 single in hip-hop history (discounting Blondie's 1980 new wave ditty "Rapture"), but also single-handedly revived Aerosmith's career. A subsequent arena tour turned Run-D.M.C. into pop stars; unfortunately, several of their appearances were plagued by outbreaks of violence. One infamous show at Long Beach Arena in California found the notorious L.A. Crip and Blood gangs fighting each other and robbing and assaulting other concertgoers, leaving nearly 40 people injured. That concert made national headlines and allowed the media to single out Run-D.M.C., the group's music, and rap music in general as a cause of violence, a reputation that has haunted the hip-hop community to this day. "They say we're putting out bad messages to the kids," Run told Rolling Stone in the issue that featured Run-D.M.C. as the magazine's first hip-hop cover artists. "Our image is clean, man. Kids beat each other's heads every day. They are fighting because they were fighting before I was born . we're role models." Despite the unfortunate incidents, Run-D.M.C. continued to mount massive tours with acts like their former protégés the Beastie Boys (whose rowdy License to Ill eventually eclipsed Raising Hell in album sales) and Public Enemy. They also starred in advertisements for Adidas and Coca-Cola and donated a memorable track, "Christmas in Hollis," to the Very Special Christmas compilation. However, by the time the trio released its fourth LP, Tougher Than Leather, in 1988, rap music had changed considerably. Rock chords and chanted vocals were no longer en vogue, the lyrical content was more confrontational and complex, and the beats were more syncopated and sample-based. Despite some strong efforts in that direction, particularly the 12-inch single "Run's House," Tougher Than Leather was lost amid more albums by Boogie Down Productions (By All Means Necessary), DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper), and Public Enemy (It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back), among others. When Run-D.M.C.'s label, Profile, shipped out advance orders of 1.25 million copies and the album received only a platinum plaque, it was seen as a disappointment. Run-D.M.C.'s second movie, the bizarrely violent action drama Tougher Than Leather, bombed in theaters; the group's 1990 album, Back From Hell (titled in part as a reference to the group's spiritual awakening after personal bouts with drugs and alcohol), also attracted little interest. More bad news followed in 1991, when Run was charged with raping a college student in Ohio. The charges were eventually dropped. The members of Run-D.M.C. put their troubles behind them and made a surprising comeback in 1993 with their single and top 10 gold album Down With the King. Helmed by producer Pete Rock and guest-starring Rock's then-partner, CL Smooth, "Down With the King" became the group's biggest-selling single to date and a triumphant reminder of Run-D.M.C.'s - and, by extension, hip-hop's - lasting appeal. "Hip-hop is here to stay, Run-D.M.C. is here to stay," D.M.C. told The New York Times that year. Following their triumphant return, the lads of Run-D.M.C. removed themselves from the spotlight to pursue lower-profile pastimes. Run served as an ordained minister for Zoe, a Christian sect that stresses economic empowerment, in uptown New York, where D.M.C. served as a deacon. Jam Master Jay, meanwhile, produced hits for several acts, including Onyx's first two albums and Suga ("What's Up, Star?"). However, the group continued to tour extensively around the world. In 1998, a house remix of their classic "It's Like That" by Jason Nevins was a surprising success, eventually selling millions of copies. "It was as big as MC Hammer's 'You Can't Touch This,'" Run told XXL magazine in 1999. But Nevins alleged that Run-D.M.C. seemed unappreciative of his role in the hit, telling the same magazine, "I don't know if it was a black-white thing, but I don't think I got the respect I deserved." A bigger, potentially career-threatening controversy erupted when D.M.C. revealed that he had not only lost his voice, but also wasn't interested in Run-D.M.C.'s current musical direction, which was scheduled to be unveiled in the spring of 1999 on the group's seventh album, Crown Royal. "I'm rappin' about more mature stuff: drivin' in my pickup truck, wakin' up in the morning and turning on the radio, kissin' my wife," he told XXL, adding that the group wants to "hide the fact that my voice changed." Run answered by telling Source that D.M.C.'s rumored departure from the group is unfounded. "You know what I do when I don't want to do something? Don't do it," he challenged. As if inter-band squabbling weren't troublesome enough, the highly anticipated album ran into problems on the way to its release date, evidently related to getting rights from some of the guests' record labels. (Given the impressive roster - which originally featured collaborations with rap stars Method Man, Nas, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Fat Joe, and rock artists Sugar Ray, Kid Rock, and Everlast - it's not all that surprising.) So the Hollis trio spent much of 2000 in release date limbo. Good news came at the end of the year, however, when the group announced that Crown Royal would come out in February 2001. To commemorate the event, there will be two singles released, each targeting different audiences: "Rock Show," which features Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins, will be aimed at rock radio, while "It's Over," produced by Jermaine Dupri, will be pressed on a 12-inch vinyl record and aimed at dance clubs. As for the internal turmoil, all involved say there's no beef between Run and D.M.C., and regardless of Crown Royal's performance, the trio will always be the Kings of Hip-hop for many fans. "There is history around Run-D.M.C.," Pete Rock once said, "and everyone should always remember and always respect Run-D.M.C. because they opened doors."

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