The rap legend talks to BET.com about his upcoming album and solving the murder of Jam Master Jay.
This past Saturday (July 9) I had the opportunity to interview hip hop icon Darryl “DMC” McDaniels at the Adidas Store in the Queens Center Mall. The in store signing was in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the hit Run DMC song “My Adidas.”
I was limited to three questions, which is fitting for three reasons: (1) Adidas has three stripes, (2) Run DMC had three members (RIP JMJ) and (3) Old school emcees tend to have really long answers to questions (no KRS).
BET.com: With the release of “My Adidas” 25 years ago, Run DMC began something that would eventually become a standard within urban marketing: the endorsement deal. How does it feel to be a pioneer in that field?
DMC: We started it. We had no idea what we was doing. I think things that are sincere, things that are genuine, things that are honest for a purpose always create something that is going to change the world. So for us we just loved Adidas and we made a song about it. Like people think "Oh, wow. We went to Adidas and said we’re going to make this song" and all this happened. No we made this song not even thinking about being down with the company. We rhymed about something that we loved, but I think once they saw it worked-- I even heard Michael Jordan wanted to be with Adidas because of our record. That’s powerful. So I think what happens was [a genuine representation of something that was universal: style, music, good feeling, good relationship with people.
BET.com: With so many individuals coming forward offering confessions about the deaths of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, does it give you any hope that Jam Master Jay’s murder might be solved in the near future as well?
DMC: After Jay passed away it always gave me strength because when I go back to my neighborhood you got the dudes that go “when I found out who did it I’m telling.” There’s always going to be the secrets and lies, but then there’s always going to be the faithful person who says “Man, if I found out who did that to Jay, I’m telling.” So there’s always hope that somebody knows. And when you look at it from a legal standpoint, you got to understand that there’s suspects, but without evidence you can’t do nothing. But one day—the streets is talking, the streets will release one day.
There are those faithful people, like, “I’m telling,” and it ain’t have nothing to do with snitching. You do something to somebody that I love, I’m telling on you, I’m going to have a party about it, I’m a do a record about it, I’m going to call the press. I’m going to make it a “Tell on the Guy Who Killed Jam Master Jay Day” if I find out. It has nothing to do with snitching. Snitching is not being tattle tale like your teacher used to say, telling every little thing. But if it has something to do with life then you drop a dime in a minute.
BET.com: What are your thoughts on Diggy Simmons and the music he’s putting out now?
DMC: It’s really good, but Diggy Simmons—he’s my competition, so he better watch out because I’m putting out an album, two singles this month and an album in a couple of months so Diggy watch out . No mercy—hip hop has nothing to do with age. The thing that bugs me out is you got these executives who care nothing about the people they sell their music too.
Hip hop--there’s nothing bad about it except the people who run it don’t care about the culture and I can’t understand that. I used to say "we’re going out to labels but record companies is only in the business to sell records"—so they’re not my fight. It just irks me when somebody says hip hop is a young person’s music. No it ain’t! Bruce Springstein is probably 50-60 years old. No rock-and-rollers’ going around saying "Oh I’m 50 now, I’m not rock and rolling no more. The problem is all the guys running the labels don’t want to sign none of the older artists because they know the older artists will put a foot in the behinds of the fake groups they’ve been signing for the last 10 years, so they trying to keep them out. Listen, if the music business ends tomorrow there’s still going to be hip hop—why? Hip hop was here before a rapper ever got signed.