DMC in New York, 2005. Therapy is the most gangsta thing you can do. Photograph: Jim Cooper/AP
DMC realised he had to get real about rehab. He also found counselling helpful. Therapy is the most gangsta thing you can do, he says. His ultimate salvation, though, was his wife Zury and his son Dson.
Raised Catholic but enjoying a wild time on the road rather than worrying about my eternal soul, DMC now believes a higher, personal power lives within all of us. I dont care what you wanna call god: Yahweh, Buddha, Almighty, Allah, whatever you wanna call her. I think Gods a woman cause my wife and mother are so cool.
DMC is a Hillary Clinton supporter. Ive seen her, working in the community for foster kids. I fell in love with her cause she really cares about young people. Clinton also reminds him of his mum. Your mother can read bullshit, knows how to bring shit to order.
He believes Run DMCs last three albums were really awful and The School of Old, featuring Kid Rock, on 2001s
Crown Royal certainly was in striking contrast to the previous quartet, dedicated to uplifting America. This year DMC put out a single Flames (Unnecessary Bullets), a call to stop all the violence. Did he draw on Fred Hampton Jrs message that we dont fight racism with racism. We fight racism with solidarity? Oh for sure. Thats absolutely what Flames is about.
DMC is angry about police killing black people. Those bullets should not have left the chambers. He was moved by Dallas police chief David Browns
Ill be loving you always eulogy for his five murdered cops. That was incredible! he exclaims. Hes also impressed with Browns community policing approach, and that he has fired more than 70 sub-standard officers. Weve got to go through all of Americas precincts, one by one, and weed out all the bad weeds.
He raises murders within African American communities, recounting a recent forum. A young girl gets up and says: Heres the truth, DMC: when a white cop shoots a black kid thats wrong, but when a black kid shoots another black kid thats how it is in the hood. That hit me in the gut. I said Damn, thats the fight right there. It goes deep: I remember when Jay got shot
Jays murder remains unsolved. Does DMC think anyone will ever be charged? Nope. I really, really dont think so, he sighs. A 2012
New York Daily News article alleged people in Hollis know who did it, but are too scared to tell the police. Yes, too scared. He quotes the perspective of someone living in Hollis. Jay travelled and they got Jay. Ive got to live here everyday. Ive got my wife and kids. DMC believes in an afterlife. You will see Jay again, he says, quoting the last line of Run-DMCs Peter Piper. You will. Right now hes jamming in heaven with Biggie and Kurt Cobain.
DMC says contemporary hip-hop is overwhelmed by mediocre rap. So illiterate, so disrespectful, so negative. Here in America, you can be a motherfuckin fool, as long as youre making money. If you get a young positive brother talking like a Chuck D or a
KRS-One or a Rakim, America dont want to hear from you. We need to go to these radio stations and say we dont wanna just hear these same 10 records about sipping syrup, having sex and shooting motherfuckers.
DMC argues that hip-hop should be more about self-esteem, self-respect and the force of education. As he does frequently during our interview, he busts out a burst of verse, words from Raising Hells closing track: Im proud to be black yo.
He would love to see Public Enemys Chuck D shaking things up as a producer industry-wide. A lot of motherfuckers would be fired. It would be a total re-haul in this music business. Ninety-nine percent of rap today is bad demos. Its about responsibility. Its not about censorship and freedom of speech. We let corporate America come in and exploit us, tell us how to do our own hip-hop. You get more money if youre a knucklehead In the 80s we challenged Reaganomics.
Today, DMC is enjoying making music again. I dont need no substances. Hes working on
Coming Like a Rhino, a new track with Chuck D, which aims to cross Rebel Without a Pause and Time Bomb. Were about to put the foot of God in the ass of the industry, in all rappers to come, the rappers that are still in their fathers nuts. Let em know they dont call Chuck the hard rhymer and DMC the King of Rock for nothing. Im just 52. Im not a fuckin senior citizen. Coming Like a Rhinos not for recognition; not for sales. Just dope ass beats and dope ass rhymes. Aint nothing better than that.