[url id="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/run_dmc/artist.jhtml"]Run-DMC[/url] are set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend, and one-third of the legendary group confirmed to MTV News that they will not perform (as is customary during the ceremony) but instead a video tribute will play to mark the occasion.
Rev Run previously spoke to MTV News in January following the Queens collective receiving word of their honor. The [url id="http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/runs_house/series.jhtml"]“Run’s House”[/url] star said the decision about whether the group would perform would be left to DMC. After the murder of their DJ, Jam Master Jay, the remaining group members made the decision to never perform again as Run-DMC, out of respect for their fallen friend.
“For me, I tell people, ‘Do you want to see me and Run running around without Jay?’ ” DMC told MTV News earlier this week. “They tell me I could get [url id="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/grandmaster_flash/artist.jhtml"]Grandmaster Flash[/url] [to fill in]. But I can get any DJ in the world if I want. It wouldn’t be right. I can’t replace my drummer.”
D said the Rock Hall will produce a video tribute to the group, although he didn’t have a hand in the segment. He’s been busy worrying about what he’ll say when he reaches the podium. He joked that the representatives for the event “scared” him with their advice for his speech.
“They said, ‘You have all the time in the world. We don’t want you to be too long, but we don’t want you to be too short,’ ” he said, laughing. “Then they said, ‘You should write something.’ I said I wasn’t gonna write something; I was gonna freestyle it. But then they scared me again with [clears voice], ‘Make sure you get it right, because you only get to do this once.’ ”
DMC — who, following the group’s retirement, has ventured into a more rock-based sound — said he’s honored to be entering the Hall with Metallica and Bobby Womack. He called himself a fan of the former and said the latter was a “super superstar.”
“For me, personally, I just love what gods are gonna be in the room,” DMC said. “I’m a rock-and-roll fan, from Led Zeppelin to Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix.
“And Metallica? Oh my God,” he continued. “I grew up as a kid looking up to Bobby Womack. Do you know how big he was? He was so far from me as a super superstar, because my mother and father followed him. That’s crazy. Now I’m thinking about it, and it’s just crazy.”
Fellow Queens native and longtime peer LL Cool J agreed. He said the upcoming Run-DMC induction makes him “incredibly proud,” as he recalled how the trio took him under their wing during his first tour experience. Stepping back as a fan, LL admitted, he’d like to see the fellas perform to celebrate the honor. But he respects the decision they’ve made.
“When I think about them performing — and I would never encourage them to do something that they wouldn’t do — but I really wish they would consider getting video footage of Jay cutting and figure out a way to sync that up so that they could perform to it,” LL told MTV News. “Kind of like the way Natalie Cole did it with her father. I really wish they would consider that. If I was Run, I would. I think it would be epic. That would be big.”
Despite a Run-DMC performance missing from the itinerary, Run’s older brother and group patriarch Russell Simmons said the trio’s legacy will stand on its own. He said Run-DMC ushered in the era of rappers becoming actual recording artists. Prior to second-wave groups like Run-DMC, Simmons cited acts like the Cold Crush Brothers, DJ Hollywood and Eddie Cheeba as performing artists who largely composed numbers to hit the stage. Run-DMC, he said, were influenced by those groups, and it registered in their songs, which were incredibly authentic. Simmons, who built Def Jam into the most iconic rap label in history, said it was Run-DMC’s authenticity that ultimately will be the indicator of their legacy and influence.
“They may have looked like the Blues Brothers to rock-and-roll guys, but that was some real Brooklyn sh– right there [the way they dressed and presented themselves],” Simmons explained. “That’s some Hollis, Queens, stuff. They were paying homage to where the music was coming from [the streets]. They drew the line in the sand. They weren’t crossing over; they made people come to them. And with that, they really inspired the whole community. They did a lot to contribute to the sentiment of authenticity, which ultimately became the earmark of the culture as a whole.”