Meeting DMC: “Take-Aways”
Daryl McDaniels (DMC) of the pioneering rap group RUN-DMC held a meet and greet and promoted his new album Back From the Dead: The Legend Lives at my illustriously dope employment Alma mater, the Record Archive! For those who don’t know, RUN-DMC played an extremely important role for how hip-hop music would sound (drum tracks and rock fusions), what it would look like (goodbye disco aesthetics), and how it would be monetized (cha-ching!). As a cultural participant and as an emcee, I owe a lot to him. It is also important to note DMC’s passion for educating the Learned and the Swear-They-Knows about the history of the culture from his highly valuable vantage point. I won’t geek out too hard, but here are my key Take-Aways from his time with fans at Archive.
Hip-Hop’s Generational Inheritances are lush.
I went to this event with my mother and grandmother. There was a whole family in Adidas tracksuits ready to take a picture with DMC. It made me find a whole new appreciation for hip-hop legacies within families. My mother was a major RUN-DMC fan, and chances are I wouldn’t have been even remotely invested in who they were or their importance if it weren’t for her exposing it to me. That exposure helped me code my true school sensibilities. Hip-Hop has stood the test time for generational inheritances to become a prolific reality!
The “intelligent rapper, but academic failure” myth becomes further debunked.
J Cole, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Jadakiss (yes, Jadakiss), 2 Chainz, and other emcees dispell this Smart Kid/Bad Student archetype that emcees often get branded with. DMC proved to be an iconoclastic forerunner in this regard, as he clearly and proudly articulated how exceptional his grades were through the contextualization of his famous “St. John’s University” bar. Academics and emceeing don’t have to be like oil and water all the time. DMC proved that in ’82.
“Vinyl is final.”
These were words he said, which were coupled with an explanation for how vinyl is the superior format and that having your music pressed on vinyl is the hallmark of a true music artist. This was easy for me to take offense as an artist with no vinyl music pressings, and potentially write him off as an OG stuck in the “back in the day” mindset, but he said other things that were very true. I found him to be correct about the unequaled experience of the intimately tangible and sonically organic nature of vinyl. He also posed the question “Would we be listening to all the artists we listen to now if we only hear them on vinyl?” I’ll leave that for reflection and debate.
Having discernment when meeting an industry OG or established artist is key.
DMC did not fly to Rochester to hear the Bushido Garvey demo tape. He didn’t come to Rochester to recruit from its deep talent pool. He came to drop jewels and spread his vision for music. That provides a great opportunity for me in itself, that I have ferociously soaked up. There may be Meet and Greet opportunities where I can share my artistic visions and request for assistance, but this was NOT one of them! I’m glad I didn’t ruin it by busting out with a 16 when I met him while 50 people wait for me to finish so they can take their picture.
Peace to Alayna, Lon, Margaret, Richard, and all the Record Archive staff who made this learning moment possible! Peace and Progress.
Back From the Dead can be found at your local independent music store!