Run-D.M.C from Hollis, Queens, New York were a crucial part of rap history, helping the Beastie Boys to become the first successful white rap group.
Joseph “Run” Simmons–now known as Reverend Run–eschewed racial perceptions of hip-hop and signed the all-white Beastie Boys to his label Def Jam, bringing the group on tour with him and the rest of the Run-D.M.C crew: Darryl D.M.C McDaniels and Jason “Jam-Master Jay” Mizell.
New York-based blog, the Gothamist, caught up with D.M.C. who detailed his personal feelings about the late Adam Yauch a/k/a M.C.A who died last week at the age of 47 from a long-time battle with cancer.
While D.M.C’s Twitter feed has been flooded for almost a week with retweets of nostalgia, support, and DMC’s responses to fans of “MCA has passed away but his music is here to stay, Beastie Boys made history and Beasties outta you and me,” the rapper gave some insight into when he first met Yauch, how he first heard the news of Yauch’s passing, and why there may be hold-ups on a public memorial.
With the extensive outpouring of Beastie Boys fan love, there’s still no reports of an official public memorial service for Yauch. Friend and ex-tour mate, rapper D.M.C, said that an issue in the planning is Yauch’s spiritual leanings towards Buddhism versus his familial Jewish heritage.
D.M.C told Gothamist, “The problem is this: he was Jewish, but he became a Buddhist. So they’ve got to figure out how to honor both of them. I’m sure that the family’s going to have to do the Jewish tradition, but then all his Buddhist people are going to have to do the Buddha thing too.”
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a funeral or whatever, but there’s definitely going be a memorial,” D.M.C continued. “Hopefully the Jews and the Buddhists can get together at the memorial. That’d be even cooler!”
While D.M.C said he recognizes cancer is “a killer,” he was a little surprised by Yauch’s passing; he hoped that MCA’s”hip-hopness would be able to conquer this disease.”
DMC first heard of MCA’s death while he was soundchecking at the Kentucky Derby and didn’t believe the news because of its questionable source: the internet.
“I did a sound check and all my friends were like, ‘Yo, MCA just died,’ and I was like, ‘Where’d you hear that,’ and they said, ‘On the internet,'” DMC elaborated. “So, I don’t believe nothing on the internet, but then my publicist called me and asked, ‘Do you have any words to say?’ And I was like, ‘Yo, don’t tell me MCA passed away.'”
D.M.C then went on to explain how he met the Beastie Boys and how critics thought hip-hop was just a fad, a “fad” into which some “white punk rock kids” wouldn’t be embraced.
“Well, MCA as an artist was cool. I remember when I first met him in the Beastie Boys, they were some of the coolest punk rock kids that I ever met,” D.M.C explained. “Then they started hip-hop, and the powers that be and all the critics were like, ‘Okay, first of all hip-hop’s a fad, but there’s no way that these black B-boys are gonna get with these white punk rock kids in the same big venues, in places like Madison Square Garden, LA Coliseum, and there’s not gonna be no problems.’ But there were no problems. We toured the world together.”
According to Billboard, Beastie Boys’ 1986 album Licensed to Ill was the first rap album to be at Number 1 on the Billboard charts started March 7, 1987 and the album spent seven weeks at that spot. Now Licensed to Ill is at Number 18 on the Billboard Top 200 with 19,000 units sold which is a sales increase of 802%.
The Beastie Boys’ debut album was put out via Run’s Def Jam label and Columbia Records.
“People gotta realize something: Run DMC kicked the doors open, but because of what we did, when we did the ‘Together Forever’ tour with the Beastie Boys, we changed the world,” mused the rapper. “We showed that white people and black people can stand side by side in the hood, from the streets of New York.”
“Whether you’re in Beverly Hills or whether you’re in a dirt poor ghetto, we proved that we could all get together. And we took that message all over the world.
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles