Run-DMC Icon Wants Rappers To Address Addiction & Mental Health In Music

"Imagine if Q-Tip, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim OD’d. Every artist from Ice Cube to De La Soul would’ve made records addressing the issue," said DMC.

BYErika Marie
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He's a beloved pioneer of Hip Hop who has witnessed the ever-changing transition of the genre from one generation to the next, so Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC knows a thing or two about the impact of Rap. His classics have been covered, remixed, chopped and screwed as music fans have enjoyed the evolution of the trio—a group rounded out by Rev Run and the late-great Jam Master Jay.

Each generation faces its own sets of obstacles, especially within Hip Hop, and in recent years, we've seen a rise in artists losing their lives to violence, mental health struggles and suicide, or drug addictions and substance abuse. HipHopDX chatted with DMC about the culture and he expressed a bit of frustration with current artists failing to use their platforms to speak about these plaguing issues and, instead, often choosing to perpetuate them. 

Gustavo Caballero / Staff / Getty Images

"They didn’t listen. The big problem is nobody in this current generation of rappers is constantly making records about the issues. Think about it," said DMC. "Out of all the top rappers, all of them, of this generation, did any of them make a message of self destruction? No. All of these successful dudes and girls, nobody’s doing songs about Peep, Mac Miller and Juice WRLD."

He gave an example using his fellow Rap icons.

"Look at that void right there. Imagine if Q-Tip, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim OD’d. Every artist from Ice Cube to De La Soul would’ve made records addressing the issue. So this generation is being silent. So I’m like, 'Yo. This is my culture. These are my people.' Their age don’t mean nothing. What I’m doing now, as the OG, I’ve been doing this since 1983. Nobody wants to step up and take the responsibility for making sure another Juice WRLD and Mac Miller doesn’t happen again. Then I guess that I was given a microphone for a reason."

DMC also added that "harmful, addictive, and unhealthy" behaviors are often "celebrated," mentioning that if Future is going to "make that song about Percocet," the very next song should be about the dangers. Do you think artists should hold the responsibility for bringing awareness to these issues? 


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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.