Darryl McDaniels or ‘DMC’ as most of the world knows him, is one-third of the groundbreaking rap group Run–DMC;
a group that has influenced the style and sound of hip hop more than anyone else. DMC talks to ozon about style.
Let’s talk a little bit about your current projects – what are you currently working on and what are your plans for 2010?
I’m currently on touring Europe and I’m about 98% percent finished with the new album and I hope to release it in April. The album is going to be called ‘The Origins Of Block Music’.
Run–DMC have been credited more than any other hip hop group for influencing the way artists and fans dress. What influenced your style? At what point in your career did you become aware of the magnitude of your influence in how people dress?
What influenced our style were the people in our neighborhood. Hip hop before records, was always there, there was a culture, the music, what we wore, graffiti, dancing, the way we talk. When you look at the first rappers Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa when they started making records they didn’t present themselves the way they were in the neighborhood, they had no other rappers to look up to, since they were in show business they thought they should dress up so they dressed like the Rolling Stones, Parliament Funkadelic, Rick James. They were our idols, so when we started making records like we say ‘my adidas’ song ‘we took the beat from the street and put it on TV’ we didn’t invent it we didn’t even want you all to wear adidas with no laces like us, we put this on video and records people was like wow! The reason it appealed to so many people was because it was such a fresh raw style. Hip hop itself is bigger than just the MC and the rappers. So when people saw what we were wearing, hearing our music and stuff they weren’t just emulating us they wanted to get that feeling. Once people started wearing glasses, hats, chains and adidas with no laces like us, we got nervous. We said yo! this hip hop thing is powerful stuff, so we have to watch how we present ourselves.
What are your favorite sneakers and why?
Adidas Shell Toe sneakers, although my personal favorite is the pro model, because I like hi tops. The reason why adidas was better than all other brands is that all other sneakers would get old, the Shell Toe is indestructible, it’s hard like Run-DMC.
We are doing a denim issue and denim has been a part of your signature style. Do you think that denim in hip hop culture is equally iconic as sneakers are?
Denim is incredible, denim is so iconic, probably a little bit more than sneakers -sneakers didn’t get iconic until Run–DMC made adidas – and adidas should be happy – officially synonymous with hip hop, no other brand can say that; when you say hip hop the first thing people think about is the Shell Toe; but when you think about denim… denim is rock n roll, hip hop, cowboys, motorcycles, bikers, denim is rodeo. Denim is the roughest entity on the face of earth.
Black or blue denim?
Blue is good when when you’re trying to be flavourful, but black is incredible, a total black outfit makes a statement. A famous photographer from France once said: ‘The way Run-DMC look, they can walk down the runway today, tomorrow, 20 years from now and still look new’.
Style has obviously been an important element of your image but do you still care about it as much as you did at a younger age?
I care more than I cared when I was fifteen! What happens tday with the hip hop artists that have their own clothing brands trying to convice everyone to dress a certain way, cannot compete with an oldschool outfit: white Shell Toes with black stripes, black jeans, black leather jacket, black hat. People think that old school is a time period, old school is a lifestyle, a consciousness of presenting and representing something. If you have one kid among all these people walking.
Interview: Aris Karatarakis – Photo: Alkistis Tsitouri