Ode To The KINGS

I was hoping that Run grabbed the microphone and proclaimed, “We have a whole lot of superstars appearing on this stage tonight, but I want yall to know one thing, this is my motherf**kin’ house!” It didn’t quite go down like that. I just returned from Cleveland and thanks to my wife, I had the privilege […]

I was hoping that Run grabbed the microphone and proclaimed, “We have a whole lot of superstars appearing on this stage tonight, but I want yall to know one thing, this is my motherf**kin’ house!” It didn’t quite go down like that. I just returned from Cleveland and thanks to my wife, I had the privilege of witnessing Run DMC get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (her 10 year wedding anniversary gift to me).  Since 1983, I’ve been a fan of Run, D and Jay.  My favorite song of theirs begins with DMC saying, “Hey yo man, can we see those mics?”  Then they begin to rap, “It’s together forever, forever together Run-DMC and we’re tougher than leather!”  Consider this, today’s hottest rapper who happens to appear on the cover of the current Rolling Stone magazine, rapped that he was “tougher than Nigerian hair.”  What the f###?  Disregarding the racial overtone in his comment, though I’ve never picked Nigerian hair, I think it would be fair for me to assume that leather is tougher.  Over twenty five years later, Score!… Another one for the Kings from Queens. They did not adorn any Adi Dassler attire.  Run has since traded his adidas track suits in for a preachers collar, though he stills sports the fedora. While DMC sported jeans and a Harley Davidson tee during the induction ceremony.  But that’s alright, I held it down for them the whole entire weekend (see caption above).  Appearing on stage with the group were  family members.  First, Run spoke and humorously shared with the audience how screwdrivers and marijuana usage helped influence Russell’s creativity and decisions in guiding the group as their manager and producer.  Next, DMC took the podium and told the crowd that he’s a prime example of what loving a child can do.  He talked about how his biological mother gave him away, so that his real mother could find him.  DMC won an Emmy for a documentary that he produced about being a foster child titled, DMC: My Adoption, My Journey, in September 2007. The two emcee’s both gave exceptional speeches, but the most moving speech of the evening was given by Mrs. Mizell, the mother of the late Jam Master Jay. Mrs. Mizell talked about how the boys would rehearse in her living room while she was either at work or school.  She mentioned the number of turntables that JMJ broke trying to hone his skills.  She talked about Run, D and Jay’s first limousine chauffeured trip to North Carolina.  However, for me, it was when she invoked the Lord in her speech when referencing the murder of her child.  As Mrs. Mizell implied, receiving that telephone call from her son Marvin, whom she asked, “What did you do now,” tested her faith, still she remained faithful.  I kid you not; her speech was so moving and powerful that I heard many of the predominantly white, heavy metal Metallica fans chiming in with shouts of “Amen.”  Last to take the podium to give thanks was JMJ’s widow, Mrs. Terri Mizell and their sons who acknowledged that the music itself would have been nothing without the disc jockey.   There were many people thanked that evening, but one person noticeably missing from everyone’s “thank you” list was Rick Rubin.  I don’t know how that went unnoticed.  Still the evening was intoxicating.  The only thing that could have made me go into an induced seizure would have been a performance to accompany their acceptance speeches.  If you can’t tell, I am a fan of Run DMC, a true fanatic.  I grew up on their music, literally.  Often times, you’ll hear someone born prior to 1980 saying that they’re an eighties baby.  Then of course, someone will foolishly remind them that they weren’t born in the eighties.  They’re not referencing the decade they were born, they’re referencing the decade they came of age.  Though I was born in the seventies, I came of age in the eighties.  Before the turn of the decade, the only music I could reference was the music my parents listened to and the only fashion I was aware of was whatever my mother dressed me in.  However, during the eighties, I became who I am, I came of age.  And it was D and Run’s music that laid the groundwork.  Some of my fondest memories include the influence of Run DMC.  I remember my older cousin, who has since been murdered, allowing me to hang out with him and his homeboys in 1985 when we went to see the movie Krush Groove.  I remember the first outfit I wore to middle school consisted of a pair of gray Lees, a black and white adidas trifold tee and the fresh new white with the black stripes adidas.  I remember asking for a puff leather like Run, though my parents bought me a “poof” leather.  The spring of ’85 everybody I knew had on adidas tracksuits.  ‘Til this day, me and my man Rob talk about how he killed the game when he wore the exact red, white and blue tracksuit that Run wore in the movie to school after spring break.  Oh My God!  I remember the music played loudly at house parties.  I remember recording the music off of the radio, play, record, pause, simultaneously.  Lees in all colors, silk bvd’s, Britishers, not British Knights, there’s a big difference, trust me.  Rope chains, Cazal’s, NBA Starter jackets and the music that defined the era.  And who was in the forefront? You guessed it, Run DMC. The accolades are too many to name, like DMC said during an interview on FUSE leading up to the induction ceremony, “We were the first to do everything!”  During the same interview, DMC also stated that they lived a rock-n-roll lifestyle, but didn’t put it in their music because they recognized their influence on the public.  Talk about being responsible artists.  The event itself was a black tie gala, the first time that the induction ceremony was opened to the public.  Only the second time in twenty-four years that Cleveland, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, hosted the ceremony.  And I had the privilege of being there to see the precedent of hip hop groups receive what they claimed years ago when DMC so powerfully voiced the words, “I’m The King of Rock!”  Not, “I’m The King of Rap” because the almighty Kurtis Blow said that he was the “King of Rap,” so Run DMC gave him that.  (I say that facetiously because he earned it.)  Run, D and Jay epitomized what it meant to be cool.  To define them, the word swaggerific would be too simplistic.  Now remember, they were potent during a time when rappers intentionally differentiated themselves in style.  They looked nor sounded like any other emcees and their influence on the culture is still unprecedented. “It’s about time for a brand new group, Run DMC to put you up on the scoop.  We make the fly girls scream in ecstasy; We rock the freshest rhymes at a party.  We put all the fellas in a daze.  It’s everyone that we amaze.  And we got the master of a disco scratch.  It’s not a break that he can’t catch.  Jam Master Jay that is his name and all wild deejay’s he will tame.  Behind the turntables is where he stands.  And there is the movement of his hands.  So when asked whose best yall should say Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay!”   Congratulations to Run DMC and Jam Master Jay from Cornell Dews.