D.M.C. (real name Darryl McDaniels) is a legendary emcee who helped change the sound of hip-hop in the 1980s as a member of Run-DMC. Managed by Russell Simmons and produced by Rick Rubin, the Def Jam trio were unstoppable and unparalleled in their hometown of New York.
The trio were responsible for Raising Hell. The first hip-hop album to sell one million copies, with its platinum certification coming in 1986. Furthermore, as one of the most prominent acts of the decade, in 1984, the visuals for Run-DMC’s ‘Rock Box’ were broadcast on MTV, making it the first rap video to air on the channel.
The collective broke all kinds of records and even had its own sponsorship deal with sports clothing company Adidas. However, even its members, including McDaniels, respected and admired their musical peers and, in D.M.C.’s case, were even fans.
In an interview with Pitchfork ahead of this year’s 50th anniversary of hip-hop celebrations, McDaniels revealed his favourite rap song of all time, and, surprisingly, it was released during his time in the spotlight. Explaining how he admired other New York acts at the time, such as Beastie Boys, LL Cool J and more, McDaniels gave the top spot to one very iconic group.
D.M.C. explicitly revealed without hesitation that his favourite rap song was Public Enemy’s ‘Rebel Without a Pause.’ Detailing the first time he heard it, McDaniels recalled, “I was going on tour with the Beastie Boys, and Chuck D and Hank Shocklee came to meet us at JFK Airport.”
He continued, “Chuck said, ‘Y’all gotta hear this,’ and they gave Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen a cassette tape of a new record they had just made. This song was so captivating and addictive that Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys would rush to the dressing room after the show and listen to it on my JVC boombox. It wasn’t just a statement about political and social issues—it was a statement about how no motherfuckers could make hip-hop this incredible.”
McDaniels also revealed the late Jam Master Jay had an affinity for the track ‘Public Enemy No.1,’ divulging, “When Jam Master Jay first heard Chuck on ‘Public Enemy #1,’ he said to Rick and Russell, ‘God has come down from heaven to rock the mic.’ This was God putting his foot in every MC’s ass. It was voice, delivery, rhyme, style. What’s beautiful is that Chuck said he created the cadence off of Rakim, the God MC. Sonically, it was the most powerful, ear-catching, aggressive, complete production of a hip-hop record. It was mature and youthful. It was who we were before we started making records.”
You can listen to ‘Rebel Without a Pause’ in the video below.