Published January 13, 2015
Once again, DMC is in the place to be.
The 41-year-old rapper and former Run-DMC member is preparing to release his first solo album, "Checks, Thugs & Rock and Roll," which features a wide array of musicians from Kid Rock to Doug E. Fresh to Fieldy from Korn.
The man who introduced himself to the world in the early '80s on "Sucker MCs" with "I'm DMC in the place to be" spoke with The Associated Press about what it takes to rock with the youngsters.
AP: How did you pick the album title?
DMC: Checks, because everybody looks at hip-hop and says it's about money. And I call it 'thugs' because everybody seems to want to be meaner or rougher or tougher than the next brother, running with the posses and if you rhyme about this guy on a record he's gonna shoot that guy. What they don't really understand is it's rock & roll. So I call it 'Checks, Thugs, and Rock & Roll,' because I'm the missing ingredient, the rock 'n' roll ingredient that's gonna bring the vision, versatility, creativity and consciousness back to the rap game.
AP: Does this approach have anything to do with being 41 years old?
DMC: It irks me when I hear these rap cats say, 'When I get 30 years old I don't even know if I'ma be doing rap.' That's like saying because Eric Clapton is over 50 he's not supposed to play the guitar anymore. So I'm just trying to evolve the music or go with the music and let the world know how a B-boy becomes a B-man.
AP: So how do you do it?
DMC: Know what it is? You cannot give up. You gotta be confident enough to know that music, you're gonna keep making it. How did Bob Dylan do it? You gotta keep your associations and your affiliations and you gotta keep it real. You can't be out there jumping around with these young cats. You can't be out there trying to look like the young cats. You just gotta make your music. My motivation is to be making music until I'm 80 or 90. I'm going out like Sinatra.
AP: When did you realize that you were a B-man and not a B-boy?
DMC: When I turned on the radio to the popular rap stations and said, 'I don't like this no more.' That was my awakening when I couldn't relate anymore. Let's say 10 years ago.
AP: What's the typical day of a 40-something MC?
DMC: A typical day is you wake up and you go, 'Thank God I made it to another day.' At 40 whether you get married or not, it's about the kids and work and you wake up and you try to figure out where do you fit in. The good thing about being a 40 something MC is actually it's like being a kid all over again. because everything is new to you. You're like a baby that wants to touch and investigate everything. And that helps your creativity. A lot of people would expect me to say lemme get with P Diddy or Jermaine Dupri. But what I don't want to be doing is jumping around in the video with them or be seen in the club scene or pool party or sitting there talking about my jewels. I been there done that. A day in the life of a 40 something MC is a day in real life reality. In the 20s your having fun so that's your talking about. But when you're 40 you got other concerns in your mind and you want to express them concerns. Like my new album is really personal. I deal with suicide, politics, war, relationships.
AP: What do you do less of at 40?
DMC: Drugs. (Laughs.) I do lesser drugs. But see what's so crazy is in '91 I was diagnosed with pancreitis because I used to drink a case of 40-ounces a day to myself. Every day. The doctor said, 'If you drink again you die.' So from '91-'99 I didn't have a drink. Then one day I was in Germany, I took one sip. And then I drank three glasses that night. Went to the club, had vodka and orange juice, rationalizing that it was juice. From that day on, from '99 to April of last year, was Hennessey, Remy Martin, Hypnotiq, I went on a drinking binge. Then it got bad with my family, my wife and friends. So last year, I went into rehab for alcoholism in April. They taught you about your brain cells, hereditary diseases. See, since I'm adopted I don't know my parents 1/8They 3/8 could be alcoholics. It's hereditary. So once I understood what was going on, I don't have to drink anymore.
AP: Well congratulations on taking steps to stop drinking.
DMC: When (Jam Master) Jay died I (was) thinking, 'It's over.' But it's a whole bigger plan than that. It happened for a reason. Waiting 'til last year to go to rehab happened for a reason. It gave me a clear head and clear focus to really step up to my responsibility. Now I'm ready to come out. Instead of a vocalist, I'm a spokalist. Cause I speak and I have something to say.