Disclaimer: I’m not a black man, but I play one on the internet.
I’ve been taking a personal sabbath on Spotify today, holding a lil bit o’ church up in here in my bedroom instead of going out, because I’m such a gentle and wise “lay minister”. I need to re-connect with my inner teacher, the Holy Spirit, because together we make such a dope team (wha?!). As long as I let Her take the lead we’re a good team, that is.
I’m also home because I need a genuine rest from all the driving I have to do most days, for work and for family, and I don’t happen to have any responsibilities in the church worship services this week (an increasingly rare occurrence).
So I read about King David in 1 Samuel in the bible a bit, but then took a little improvised break and read about (and listened to) the Kings of Rock, Run-D.M.C.
It also feels like self-directed church because I’m reading about the boys’ wandering around in the wilderness and confusion of living in the hip-hop spotlight, and how God led Run and Darryl into recovery from various serious conditions. And it’s church because it’s my own very belated attendance at Jam Master Jay‘s funeral, since while I was busy changing diapers, he was shot in 2002, effectively ending the career of Run-D.M.C. as a viable act. (Or did it? … see the “comeback” story linked to below.)
JMJ/Jason Mizell’s murder, by the way, is still unsolved. So how come the only similar mysterious shootings people ever talked about were when the genuine thugs Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac got it?! Why doesn’t Jay get his props? He’s the one in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not those other two pretenders. (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is the only other hip-hop artist in the Rock Hall so far, for those who care about such things… not that you gotta…)
It’s so much fun, and good for the “soul”, too. Fun because I feel like I’m catching up on some things I missed or skipped when I was 19 years old (1984–when their first LP “Run-D.M.C.” came out) or when I was 28 (1993, when “Down With the King“, their last hit single, broke out), or even 34 (1999, when the group brought out their last official record, the underrated Crown Royal, …featuring more guest artists than all other Run D.M.C. records combined).
Good for the soul because these guys have always been about positivity, non-violence, getting healthy, and expressing yourself no matter what. Plus they’re funny as hell. (You didn’t know hell was funny, did you? Well it is. Rap music is the original “Laugh at the Devil” music… or at least it was in the early days.)
I hope I can be forgiven for not knowing all this great music and cultural history so well, because like I said: I was a white man back then. Now I’m slightly colored, or discolored, …or something…
I did see the VH1 “Behind the Music” Special. Does that count? (That was in about 2000.)
I did another post at Spotify today too, regarding the Crown Royal LP (by then, probably never even made it to vinyl, though):
RUN DMC (mostly Darryl) doing Rev. Al Green. I’m so there. 1999’s Crown Royal barely has any of DMC’s rapping, but his stuff is the best on there, including the title track which recounts RDMC’s history, and this track, reflecting Darryl’s increasing mental health and the musical influence of gentler singer-songwriters instead of just street ranters and thugs.
So spin yourself a few of those hip-hop dusties, you oldsters like me out there. We ain’t dead yet. And Run-D.M.C. are getting ready for a comeback, too. Stay tuned.
- Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon Perform “History of Rap 4″ (VIDEO) (gossipcop.com)
- Reverend Run Talks Run-D.M.C. Comeback (theboombox.com)