Old Dominion University was blessed with a real treat when legendary MC Darryl “DMC” McDaniels spoke in the North Café on Thursday, September 5, 2013. The event “Real Hip Hop with Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels”, hosted by SAC (Student Activities Council), shined a light on the vast history of hip-hop..
Most would know McDaniels from the hip-hop group Run DMC that took the music world by storm in the ‘80s.
Throughout the two-hour event, McDaniels tackled a variety of topics that included growing up as a straight-A Catholic school student who witnessed the birth of hip-hop. He focused on both the positive and negative transitions hip-hop has made, which hip-hop artists have inspired him and his belief that hip-hop should be more responsible
McDaniels said responsible hip-hop means that artists should stay true to themselves. Referencing artists like MC Hammer and Ja Rule, McDaniels explained that artists can be on top, but lose it all once they allow the industry and outside forces to change their paths.
He shared what he believes to be the two most influential songs in hip-hop songs, which are Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” and Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation’s “Planet Rock”. He described both records as being better than 99 percent of songs out today.
McDaniels explained that these songs were so influential because he believes the lyrics stand the test of time. He quoted Afrika Bambataa’s “be who you are, just be” lyric to address how he believes that many in the hip-hop culture today are afraid to be themselves and constantly put on a façade to hide their true self.
McDaniels said he believes in the power to speak things into existence, and drew an example from The Notorious B.I.G.’s album “Ready to Die.”
“As a man thinketh, so he shall be,” McDaniels said, paraphrasing Proverbs 23:7.
He also expressed his admiration for Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, noting that they were the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, not Run DMC.
“I’m never going to talk about it until all media before me, until all media celebrates Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five being inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Don’t come even talk to me about my induction until y’all spend 5 years [talking] about what got Flash and them there, because that’s why hip-hop will always be here and will always exist,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels closed by reflecting on his beliefs of what hip-hop truly is.
“We became legends, in rock n roll hall of fame, not because we were successful show business people, it was successful because it must be good and it must have purpose, that’s the whole essence of hip-hop,” McDaniels said.