By Emanuel Wallace
Photo Credit: Emanuel Wallace
As if anyone could forget. Those opening lines from Run-DMC’s “Hit It Run” describe the career of Darryl “DMC” McDaniels in a nutshell. The word “seminal” isn’t strong enough to describe the influence that DMC, along with Rev Run and the late Jam Master Jay have had on the culture of hip-hop. They were the first group to land gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums and also the first rap act to garner airplay on MTV. Their influence on fashion was undeniable — from the fedoras, to the fat gold chains and of course, the Adidas. The group was ultimately honored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 as the second hip-hop act to be inducted, with the first being Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five.
Run-DMC officially disbanded as a group in the wake of Jam Master Jay’s murder in 2002, but they would occasionally reunite for performances. DMC would overcome alcoholism, depression andspasmodic dysphonia — a disorder that causes involuntary spasms of the larynx. These days, DMC also stands for Darryl Makes Comics, as McDaniels recently formed a company to embrace his childhood love for comic books. He’s a motivational speaker, and he’s still showcasing the devastating mic control he’s been known for over the course of these past 30 years.
Last night, Grog Shop was the place to be as DMC brought a live band with him in addition to DJ Charlie Chan. Opening acts Doxxbaby, Casse Barge and Ahptimus were well received too. You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.
Prior to DMC taking the stage, Chan asked the mixed crowd to have a moment of silence in memory of Jam Master Jay, to which they obliged. The band started playing and soon thereafter, the King emerged from behind the curtain and went straight into rocked-out renditions of “Sucka MCs,” “King of Rock,” “Peter Piper” and “Here We Go.” It wasn’t all classic material as the band also performed songs such as “Back From the Dead,” “Fired Up” and “Light It Up.”
“Mary, Mary” brought things back to the side of familiarity for most and then that segued into a cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” The set initially came to a close with electric performances of “It’s Tricky” and the cross-genre hit that started it all, “Walk This Way.” During the encore, DMC performed “My Adidas” and welcomed a gentleman to the stage who was sporting an Adidas tracksuit and McDaniels’ trademark frames.
Over the course of 30 years, DMC has rocked stages the world over. As he addressed the crowd, he expressed dissatisfaction in the perception that older emcees just can’t cut it anymore, saying “I’m like wine, I get better with time.” His performance proved just that. Whether it’s performing in Wembley Stadium for Live Aid or in front of the intimate crowd of Grog Shop, the King holds court — and he’ll certainly make sure you don’t forget that.