The rapper Rev Run calls “the most creative” in the game right now
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Old School Archives

The rapper Rev Run calls "the most creative" in the game right now

As one-third of the iconic trio Run-DMC, Rev Run (real name Joseph Simmons) made a seismic impact on hip-hop during the 1980s and early ’90s. The Queens emcee and DJ was one of the co-founders of Def Jam Records and featured on all of the trio’s projects, from their 1984 self-titled debut to King of Rock, released in 1985. 

As well as being a lyricist, Simmons is also a practising reverend. However, since the dissipation of Run-DMC in the late 1990s, Rev Run has not remained a prevalent figure in rap music, but that does not mean that he is unaware of changes within the culture. In fact, he has a range of opinions on contemporary artists.

Following the murder of Jam Master Jay in 2002, Run-DMC continued to perform but only as a duo comprised of DMC and Rev Run. The pair have performed worldwide and even had their own Netflix original series.

In an interview with Drowned In Sound, Simmons spoke about the key to success for old-school artists still making music, stating, “I think it’s important to stay in your own lane, to know what you’re supposed to be doing. I don’t think criticising what’s going on now or saying, ‘It was better in the ’80s, or something stupid like that is helpful for anyone.” 

He continued, “Especially for me, at 53 years old, who am I to criticise? Because I was criticised a little bit when Run-DMC was first coming along because it means something else was going out. I don’t see it as helpful. I am very proud of what’s going on for many reasons. I try to understand the youth rather than try to tear them down.”

During his discussion with the publication, Simmons highlighted some artists he believes are truly making a difference in hip-hop. Citing some name brands, Rev Run professed, “Drake is my favourite. He’s the most creative right now, for me. That’s just my truth. I’m a massive Drake fan. I think what he does is pretty cool. I love Jay-Z and the change he made on 4:44. Speaking his truth at that age, saying, ‘Here’s where I’m at, here’s what I am talking about.'” 

He concluded, admitting, “I love Kendrick Lamar for what he does. The younger rappers from Atlanta and down south. Hip-Hop is critically acclaimed as the number one type of music right now, and I’m very proud of all of it.”