- - Sunday, December 13, 2015

In my mind, rapper DMC, of the famed hip hop group Run-DMC, was always a superhero. After all he transformed himself from mild-mannered Darryl McDaniels into DMC aka “Devastating Mic Control,” the baddest rapper you ever did see.

Alongside Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell and Joseph “Run” Simmons, DMC took rap and hip-hop from an underground sound in the hood to white suburbia and conquered a worldwide audience, thereby paving the way for the mainstream success of today’s rap artists. There would be no Drake, no Jay-Z, no Dr. Dre without Run-DMC.

Sadly, the murder of Jam Master Jay in 2002 signaled the end of the innovative rap trio. Fortunately, the holiday magic they spun with the unlikely classic “Christmas in Hollis” — even featured in the 1988 Christmas action flick “Die Hard” — continues to spin on the radio this time of year.

Now DMC stars in his own comic book series, “DMC Universe.” DMC and I met up at the pop culture convention known as Stan Lee’s Comikaze to rap about his early days, how he became DMC, why Run-DMC will never be again and why he may be a superhero.

Walk, or rather, read this way.

Question: Were you always a comic book fan?

Answer: Before hip-hop came over the bridge and changed my life, I was a little Catholic school kid growing up in suburban, lower-middle class Hollis, Queens. For me my whole existence was school and comic books. All I did was collect and read comic books.

Q: Who were your favorites?

A: Marvel comic books were my favorite because the cool thing was their superheroes were in New York. Marvel showed me the city. Stan Lee has Spider-Man living in Queens! I could relate to him.

Q: When did you start getting into hip-hop?

A: After hip-hop came over the bridge, I started writing rhymes. I was writing rhyme to pretend to be Grand Master and Melle Mel. The same why I used to tie my favorite blanket around my neck and run through the house pretending to be Batman or Superman.

Q: How did you go from from pretending to writing rhymes for real?

A: It was actually Run (Joseph Simmons) who saw that I had this creativity in me. I had a great imagination and could write rhymes. He saw this potential that I had, which was inspired from the comic books. He said, “Ill put you in my group.” I never wanted to be onstage. Or be in show business.

So I had to create a persona to be onstage because “Daryl” was never getting up there.

Q: Why did you choose the name DMC?

A: Remember, in Marvel everything was “The Amazing” Spiderman. Or “The Incredible” Hulk. Adjectives. I decided I was going to become “The Devastating” Mic Control.

Q: When you became DMC, you became a superhero.

A: But it was all make-believe. Until things hit in the real world. I became “The King of Rock.” Our first publicist wrote these words, and he didn’t even realize what he was saying. He wrote, “It was amazing to see mild-mannered Daryl McDaniels transform into the mighty King of Rock.”

Twenty years ago in Rolling Stone magazine, Chris Rock said, “Run and Jay were cool, but DMC was my superhero.”

Q: You were Superman in reverse because you put on the glasses.

A: Exactly! The two identities.

Here is another thing that really made me a superhero. At the age of 35 I found out I was adopted, and didn’t know my whole life. Superman is adopted. Spider-Man. Batman.

Q: What did you do when you found out you were adopted?

A: I went into a deep depression. Everybody was like, “How you gonna be depressed? You’re DMC, the ‘King of Rock.’” There was something in me that wanted to acknowledge the real Daryl.

Q: How did you find out you were adopted?

A: I found out because I wanted to write a book. I knew I was born May 31, 1964. But that was all I knew about the day I was born. I called my mom up and said, “I’m writing a book, and I want to know a couple more details about the day I was born. How much I weighed, what time and what hospital?”

She told me. An hour later she called me back and said, “We have something else to tell you. You was a month old when we brought you home. You was adopted but we love you. Bye.”

Q: Have you found your birth parents?

A: I found my birth mother. I found two brothers and a sister I didn’t know I had. When I found my birth mother, she said, “I gave you up to give you a chance.” As crazy as all of that is, it makes sense. My birth mother gave me up. My adoptive parents took me from Harlem to Hollis. It was my destiny to be that third member of Run-DMC. I had a purpose. It’s kind of a hip-hop superhero story.

Q: Obviously the death of Jam Master Jay in 2002 signaled the end of Run DMC.

A: Right. Because the joke is we can’t replace our drummer. Jay was the whole damn band!

Q: Are you working a new solo CD?

A: Yes. In January I am putting out a new single produced by John Moyer from the rock band Disturbed featuring Myles Kennedy. It’s called “Flames,” and we’re talking about the shootings.

Y’all gonna march in protest when the white cops shoot the black kids, but every day the black kids shoot the black kids and you are acting like that’s cool? Real hip-hop, when something happens, you make a record about it. Everybody now is staying away from the issues. Some of my friends on the record are Mick Mars, Travis Barker, Sebastian Bach and Chuck D.

DMC’s Comic Books are available now at DMC-comics.com.


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