Darryl McDaniels

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Darryl McDaniels
McDaniels at the 2014 New York Comic Con
Background information
Birth nameDarryl Matthews McDaniels
Also known asD.M.C., Easy D
Born (1964-05-31) May 31, 1964 (age 57)
Harlem, New York, U.S.
Origin Hollis, Queens, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip hop, old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop, rap rock
Occupation(s)Rapper, record producer
Years active1983–present
Associated acts Run-D.M.C., Jackyl, Notorious B.I.G.

Darryl Matthews McDaniels (born May 31, 1964), better known by his stage name DMC, is an American rapper. He is a founding member of the hip hop group Run-D.M.C., and is considered one of the pioneers of hip hop culture.


Early life

McDaniels grew up in Hollis, Queens. [1] [2] He was born to an unwed mother who surrendered him to the New York Foundling home.[ citation needed ] He was a ward of the Foundling, in foster care, until placed with the McDaniels and eventually adopted by them. They raised him as a Catholic. [3] He attended Rice High School [4] in Manhattan and later enrolled in St. John's University in Queens. [5]

McDaniels first became interested in hip hop music after listening to recordings of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. In 1978, McDaniels taught himself to DJ in the basement of his parents' home, using turntables and a mixer that he bought with his older brother, Alford, after having a comic book sale in their neighborhood. [6] During this period he adopted the stage name "Grandmaster Get High". [7]


Later that year, McDaniels sold his DJ equipment, after his friend Joseph "Run" Simmons acquired his own turntables and mixer.[ citation needed ] After Jam-Master Jay – who had a reputation as the best young DJ in Hollis – joined the group, Run encouraged McDaniels to rap rather than DJ. Gradually, McDaniels came to prefer rapping to mixing records, and adopted the nickname of "Easy D". In 1981, he dropped the "Easy D" moniker in favor of "DMcD", the way he signed his work in school, and then to the shorter "D.M.C.". This new nickname alternately stood for "Devastating Mic Control" [8] or "Darryl Mac", his nickname since childhood as referenced in the lyrics of the song "King of Rock".

In 1984, the trio released their self-titled debut album and became very successful in the hip-hop industry. The group's success continued to grow and reached its peak with their third album Raising Hell . The album went to No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making Run-D.M.C. the most popular hip-hop group at the time. During this time, McDaniels began to build a reputation as a heavy drinker. He was known to drink up to eight 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor a day and was arrested twice for public intoxication and driving while intoxicated. [2] In 1987 Run-D.M.C. wrote "Christmas in Hollis" for A Very Special Christmas. The music video for "Christmas in Hollis" was shot in Hollis, Queens. Run-D.M.C. filmed the video during their 1987 tour. DMC's mother made a guest appearance in the video. [9]

In 1997, McDaniels began to develop a deep depression. He became extremely unhappy with the rigorous routine of touring and performing, and with being away from his wife and newborn son. He began to rely heavily on prescription drugs and alcohol to ease the pain. While on tour, McDaniels noticed his voice was giving out. He was later diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, a vocal disorder which causes involuntary spasms of the larynx muscles. He believes it was caused by the aggressive way in which he performs his lyrics compounded with the years of heavy drinking. [2]

McDaniels performing with his backing band in 2011 D.M.C. 2011-12-11 02.jpg
McDaniels performing with his backing band in 2011

Meanwhile, McDaniels began to have creative differences with his bandmates in Run-D.M.C., which by then, was well past its prime as a commercially successful hip-hop group. A longtime fan of artists such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Harry Chapin, McDaniels wanted to move towards a slower, softer sound which suited his now troubled voice. Run wanted to continue with the aggressive, hard rock-edged, sound that the group was known for. These disagreements caused McDaniels to sit out most of the recording of Crown Royal (2001). [2] [5] He appeared on only three songs.

Feeling depressed and suicidal, McDaniels heard fellow adoptee Sarah McLachlan's song "Angel" (1997) on the radio. The song touched McDaniels so deeply that it inspired him to reassess his life and career. He credits McLachlan and her album Surfacing (on which "Angel" appeared) with saving his life. [2] [5] [10] With a new outlook on life, McDaniels decided to write his autobiography. While researching his early years, his mother, Bannah, revealed a shocking secret: Darryl had been placed for adoption when he was three months old. According to Bannah, his birth mother was a woman of Dominican descent named Bernada Lovelace. He also learned that he was born in Harlem, Manhattan, not Hollis, Queens, as he had always believed. Even as a child, McDaniels knew he did not look like the rest of his family, and with the revelation, he finally understood why. The news inspired him to search for his birth mother. He began working with the VH1 network on a documentary chronicling his quest. [2] His autobiography, King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility, and My Life with Run-DMC, was released in January 2001.[ citation needed ]

In February 2006, VH1 premiered the documentary titled DMC: My Adoption Journey. The program ends with McDaniels reuniting with his birth mother, who turned out to be named Berncenia and despite previous beliefs, was not, in fact, of Dominican descent. He thanks her for her choice because had he not been placed for adoption, Run-D.M.C. would have never existed. In March 2006, McDaniels released his solo album, Checks Thugs and Rock N Roll . Produced and Music Directed by Romeo Antonio. The first single, "Just Like Me", [11] features an interpolation of Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle" (1974) performed by McDaniels' musical savior, Sarah McLachlan. During a recording session, McLachlan revealed to McDaniels that she, too, had been adopted. [2] [5]

McDaniels also collaborated with Adoptee Zara Philips on "I'm Legit." [12] [13] He testified before the New Jersey State Legislature in support of legislation to restore adopted adults' access to their original birth certificates. The legislation McDaniels supported was signed by Governor Chris Christie and became effective on January 1, 2017. [14] As a New York born adoptee, however, McDaniels did not have access to his own original birth record---he hired a private investigator to help find his birth family in New York. [15]

McDaniels had written the first draft of his autobiography before learning he was adopted and was working on a second solo album, working titled The Next Level. Three tracks off the new album have been released[ when? ] ("Next Level", "Hip Hop", and "Beef Eater") and can be heard on his Myspace page. [16]

In June 2007, McDaniels joined Aerosmith on stage at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London, England to perform "Walk This Way".[ citation needed ]

McDaniels is featured in the video game Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (2008) singing Run-D.M.C.'s singles "King of Rock" and "Walk This Way". He is also an unlockable guitarist in the game. In the game's trailer, it is revealed that McDaniels' son plays Guitar Hero for hours each day.[ citation needed ]

In 2009, McDaniels performed in The People Speak , a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's nonfiction book A People's History of the United States (1980). [17]

McDaniels' second solo album, the more rock oriented The Origins Of Block Music, was due out in mid-2010 but was delayed. In December 2010, McDaniels appeared with Talib Kweli, Mix Master Mike, and Ahmet Zappa on a cover of Frank Zappa's "Willie the Pimp" for The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAAA Birthday Bundle 2010 . [18]

In 2011, McDaniels joined forces with producer Wade Martin to open the record label IME Records. [19] [20] [21]

McDaniels signs copies of his comic book, DMC #1, at a November 6, 2014 appearance at Midtown Comics in Manhattan. 11.6.14DarrylMcDanielsByLuigiNovi9.jpg
McDaniels signs copies of his comic book, DMC #1, at a November 6, 2014 appearance at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

In 2014, McDaniels ventured into the comics industry with his own publishing imprint, Darryl Makes Comics. McDaniels explains his lifelong love of the medium thus:

Growing up a mild-mannered, Catholic school kid, all I did was go to school and read comic books. I was strictly a Marvel Comics head; Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Fist, you name it. I loved Marvel because it was the city; it was all New York. The same backdrop I was living in in this universe was in the Marvel Universe. Comics did for me what hip hop did for me as I got older; it empowered me, inspired me and educated me. I learned about Nazis, space exploration, everything from comics. [22]

Darryl Makes Comics' first book is DMC, a 90-page anthology graphic novel set in 1985 that features McDaniels as a superhero who confronts both criminals and other superheroes whose recklessness threatens innocent lives. [23] The comic's version of DMC wears McDaniels' signature Adidas sneakers, fedora and rope chain, along with an elongated turtleneck that masks his face. The book is written by McDaniels and Damion Scott, and edited by Darryl Makes Comics' Editor-in-Chief, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and Senior Editor Rigo "Riggs" Morales. Each chapter in the anthology is illustrated by a different artist, because, as McDaniels explained, " If DMC was really running around and bumped into four different people, they'd have four different descriptions of what he was like. We wanted each artist's work to relate to each character's view of DMC. If you saw him, you might say, "He came out of a spaceship and had all these things flying around him!" But then another dude is like, "No! He had a sword and shield!" We thought, if so many people saw something different in DMC, we'd have to have different artwork to represent their opinions on him or their interpretation on him." In addition, graffiti writers such as MARE 139 were hired to give the shots of 1985 New York City graffiti a sense of authenticity. The book features an introduction by Greg Pak, a cover by Sal Buscema and Bob Wiacek and interior pinups by Carlos Pacheco, Chris Burnham, ChrisCross, Dexter Vines, and Shelby Robertson, some of which are homages to iconic comics covers that influenced the creative staff as children. DMC debuted at the New York Comic Con October 9–12, and was subsequently released in comics shops October 29. [24] [25] [26] The book received a four out of five stars rating by Tony Guerrero of Comic Vine, who lauded the charm and authenticity of the art. [27]

As of January 2015, McDaniels was working with the band Generation Kill on a project entitled DMC Generation Kill, to be produced by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal. [28] [29]

On the December 17, 2016 Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live , DMC made a cameo appearance during a parody of Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis." During the sketch he was portrayed by musical guest Chance the Rapper. [30]

On February 17, 2016, heavy metal band Solus Deus released their EP titled The Plague. The song titled "Anacrime" features DMC on guest vocals.

Starting in 2017 and continuing on an ongoing basis, DMC has joined the rock cover supergroup Royal Machines as a guest at their occasional concerts. Joining a revolving cast of celebrities in each lineup, including Dave Navarro, Billy Morrison, Sebastian Bach, Macy Gray, Fred Durst, DMC has performed covers of songs such as "Walk This Way", "Sweet Emotion", and "Black Betty" with the band.

On September 15, 2017, Italian rapper Caparezza released his studio album titled Prisoner 709. The song titled "Forever Jung" features DMC on guest vocals.

On June 18, 2018, American rapper DeLiverance released his single titled "Slave To The Rhythm" features DMC on guest vocals.

On August 13, 2018, DMC performed an encore with O.A.R., playing "Walk This Way". [31]

Performed on "Let's All Get the Vaccine" feat. Darryl DMC McDaniels - 2021

Charity work

The Felix Organization

In 2006, McDaniels and Sheila Jaffe, a fellow adoptee and Emmy award-winning casting director, co-founded The Felix Organization.

Since its inception, The Felix Organization has served more than 10,000 children in the foster care system. Its flagship program, Camp Felix, is an annual sleepaway summer camp in Putnam Valley, New York. Additionally, The Felix Organization sponsors two teen camps on the East Coast. Camp Felix West is for Los Angeles-based youth in foster care.

Other charity work

In September 2006, McDaniels received the Congressional Angels in Adoption award for his work with children in foster care and promotion of adoption. He sits on the Board of Directors of Children's Rights, a national watchdog organization that reforms failing child welfare systems.

Personal life

McDaniels has been a resident of Wayne, New Jersey. [32] He has been very frank about his battles with depression, including an appearance on Live From the Barrage , [33] speaking at length about it. He also has written pieces in Men's Health and BlackDoctor, where he talked about his memoir, Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide (Amistad, 2017). [34] [35]


With Run-D.M.C.


With Fragile Mortals

Video game appearances

Related Research Articles

New school hip hop Movement in hip hop music

The new school of hip hop was a movement in hip hop music starting 1983–84 with the early records of Run–D.M.C. and LL Cool J. Like the hip hop preceding it, it came predominantly from New York City. The new school was initially characterized in form by drum machine led minimalism, often tinged with elements of rock. It was notable for taunts and boasts about rapping, and socio-political commentary, both delivered in an aggressive, self-assertive style. In image as in song its artists projected a tough, cool, street b-boy attitude. These elements contrasted sharply with the funk and disco influenced outfits, novelty hits, live bands, synthesizers and party rhymes of artists prevalent in 1984, and rendered them old school. New school artists made shorter songs that could more easily gain radio play, and more cohesive LPs than their old school counterparts. By 1986 their releases began to establish the hip hop album as a fixture of the mainstream.

<i>Raising Hell</i> (album) 1986 studio album by Run-D.M.C.

Raising Hell is the third album by hip hop group Run-D.M.C. released on May 27, 1986 by Profile Records. The album was produced by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. Raising Hell became the first Platinum and multi-Platinum hip hop record. The album was first certified as Platinum on July 15, 1986, before it was certified as 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on April 24, 1987.

Walk This Way 1975 single by Aerosmith

"Walk This Way" is a song by the American hard rock band Aerosmith. Written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the song was originally released as the second single from the album Toys in the Attic (1975). It peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1977, part of a string of successful hit singles for the band in the 1970s. In addition to being one of the songs that helped break Aerosmith into the mainstream in the 1970s, it also helped revitalize their career in the 1980s when it was covered by hip hop group Run-D.M.C. on their 1986 album Raising Hell. This cover was a touchstone for the new musical subgenre of rap rock, or the melding of rock and hip hop. It became an international hit and won both groups a Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap Single in 1987 Soul Train Music Awards.

Joseph Simmons American musician, rapper and actor

Joseph Ward Simmons, better known by the stage name Run, Rev. Run or DJ Run, is an American rapper, producer, DJ and TV personality. Simmons is one of the founding members of the influential hip hop group Run–D.M.C. He is also a practicing minister, known as Reverend Run.

DJ Hurricane is an American hip hop DJ, producer and rapper. He is best known for his work with the Beastie Boys. He was a member of the groups Solo Sounds and The Afros and recorded three solo albums, featuring many well-known artists such as Xzibit, Public Enemy, Kool G Rap, Black Thought, Papoose and Talib Kweli.

<i>Crown Royal</i> (album) 2001 studio album by Run-D.M.C.

Crown Royal is the seventh and final studio album by hip hop group Run-D.M.C., released on April 3, 2001 by Arista Records.

<i>Run-D.M.C.</i> (album) 1984 studio album by Run-D.M.C.

Run-D.M.C. is the debut studio album of American hip hop group Run-D.M.C., released on March 27, 1984, by Profile Records. The album was produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith. It was considered groundbreaking for its time, presenting a tougher, more hardcore form of hip-hop. The album's sparse beats and aggressive rhymes were in sharp contrast with the light sound that was popular in hip hop at the time.

<i>King of Rock</i> 1985 studio album by Run-D.M.C.

King of Rock is the second studio album by American hip hop group Run-D.M.C., released on January 21, 1985 by Profile Records. The album was produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith. King of Rock became the first rap album released on CD. The album saw the group adopting a more rock-influenced sound, with several tracks prominently featuring heavy guitar riffs. The song "Roots, Rap, Reggae" features Yellowman, and was one of the first hybrids of rap and dancehall.

David Franklin Reeves Jr. is an American musician, DJ, songwriter and producer best known for his work in cooperation with Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, and Jam Master Jay. An early associate of Russell Simmons and Larry Smith, Dave first made his name in the 1980s.

<i>Checks Thugs and Rock n Roll</i> 2006 studio album by DMC

Checks Thugs and Rock n Roll is the debut solo studio album by Aerican musician Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels from hip hop group Run-DMC. It was released on March 14, 2006, through Romen Mpire/Rags 2 Riches Records. He was inspired to put out this album when, at age 35, he found out he was adopted.

Rock Box 1984 single by Run-DMC

"Rock Box" is a song by the American hip hop group Run-DMC. The song was produced by Larry Smith and Russell Simmons and released by Profile Records in March 1984. Following the popularity of their previous two singles "Hard Times" (1983) and "It's Like That" (1983), Profile Records head suggested to the producers and group that they should attempt to record an album as they already had four songs ready, and releasing a few more would not hurt them. Despite speculating low sales from the label and the group not feeling that hip hop was a genre appropriate for a full-length album, they were given an advance to start recording. This led to Run-DMC members Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels going through their rhyme book to develop new songs, one of which would become "Rock Box".

Rice High School (Manhattan) Private, all-male school in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City

Rice High School was a private, Roman Catholic, college preparatory high school in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, United States. It is located within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. It held its final graduation ceremony on May 27, 2011.

Christmas in Hollis 1987 single by Run-DMC

"Christmas in Hollis" is a single by Run-DMC that was included on two 1987 Christmas compilation albums featuring various artists: A Very Special Christmas and Christmas Rap. When Bill Adler first asked Run-DMC to contribute to "A Very Special Christmas"—the first in a series of various artists compilation albums produced to benefit the Special Olympics—they refused. After Bill—who was then the director of publicity for Rush Productions, which managed Run-DMC—gave the band the idea for "Christmas in Hollis," they changed their minds and agreed to be on the album. The track was produced by the group along with Rick Rubin and was originally released as a single in 1987 by A&M. In 2000, thirteen years after it was first released, it reached number 78 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

My Adidas 1986 single by Run–D.M.C.

"My Adidas" is the first single from Run–D.M.C.'s third album Raising Hell. It is about Adidas footwear. Released in 1986, the song was written by two of the members, Joseph "DJ Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels and was produced by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons. It led to the first endorsement deal between a musical act and an athletic company, after the band's co-manager, Lyor Cohen, invited Adidas executive Angelo Anastasio to the band's concert at Madison Square Garden on July 19, 1986, where the band instructed the audience to hold up their Adidas apparel during the song. This was followed by the group making a video where they addressed Adidas with an a cappella verse before shouting "Give us a million dollars!" This deal is credited with influencing future endorsement deals between brands and musicians, particularly in hip hop culture.

Jam Master Jay American musician

Jason William Mizell, better known by his stage name Jam Master Jay, was an American musician and DJ. He was the DJ of the influential hip hop group Run-D.M.C. During the 1980s, Run-D.M.C. became one of the biggest hip hop groups and are credited with breaking hip hop into mainstream music.

Larry Smith (producer)

Lawrence Smith was a pioneering American musician and hip hop record producer. He is best known for his co-productions of Run-DMC's Run-D.M.C. (1984) and King of Rock (1985) and his solo production of Whodini's Escape (1984) and Back in Black (1986).

Sucker M.C.s 1983 single by Run-D.M.C.

"Sucker M.C.'s" is a song by American hip hop group Run-D.M.C. It was first released in 1983 as B-side to "It's Like That". The two-sided release marked the start of Run-D.M.C.'s career as their first single, and it is widely regarded as ushering in a new school of hip hop artists with a street image and an abrasive, minimalist sound that marked them out from their predecessors. Both tracks were collected on the trio's self-titled debut album in 1984. WBAU was the first station to play the two songs.

Damion Scott

Damion Scott is a comic book artist and writer, known for his work on books such as Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, Web of Spider-Man, and Duppy. He splits his time between New York and Tokyo, where he founded an art studio that publishes a Japanese comic called Saturday Morning Cartoons or SAM-C.

Run-DMC American hip hop group

Run-DMC was an American hip hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York, founded in 1983 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell. Run-DMC is regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop culture and one of the most famous hip hop acts of the 1980s. Along with Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and Public Enemy, the group pioneered new school hip hop music. The group was among the first to highlight the importance of the MC and DJ relationship.

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez is a writer at Marvel Entertainment, Editor-in-Chief at Darryl Makes Comics LLC, Art Director/Owner at Somos Arte and Studio Edgardo creative services, and creator of La Borinqueña, a new and original comic book character that has grown into a cultural phenomenon and a nationally recognized symbol of Puerto Rican patriotism, social justice, and equality for all.


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