Hip hop artist Darryl “DMC” McDaniels was born on May 31, 1964 in Harlem, New York. He graduated from Rice High School in Manhattan in 1982, and enrolled at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, but did not graduate.
In 1982, McDaniels formed Run DMC with group mates Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell. In 1984, Run DMC signed to Profile Records under the management of Russell Simmons, and released their first album, Run DMC. That same year, the group’s music video “Rock Box” became first rap music video played on MTV. In 1985, Run DMC released the King of Rock album. They became only the second rap group to appear on American Bandstand, performing the hit “Jam Master Jammin.” In 1986, Run DMC released the critically acclaimed Raising Hell album, which was their top selling album, reaching certified triple platinum status. Raising Hell featured the popular song “Walk This Way,” a cover of the 1975 Aerosmith single of the same name. In the same year, Run DMC became the first rap group to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and the first rap group to perform on Saturday Night Live. The group followed their success with albums Tougher Than Leather in 1988 and Back From Hell in 1990. In 1993, Run DMC released Down with the King, and after an eight year hiatus, Run DMC released their comeback album, Crown Royal in 2001. McDaniels released his first solo album, Check Thugs and Rock N Roll, in 2006.
McDaniels co-founded The Felix Organization, a nonprofit focused on children who grow up in the foster care system. In 2009, he and Run DMC were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. McDaniels authored an autobiography entitled King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility, and My Life with Run DMC, and a memoir entitled Ten Ways to Not Commit Suicide. In 2014, McDaniels created the comic book publishing imprint, Darryl Makes Comics. Run DMC became the first rap group to be awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
McDaniels and his wife, Zuri McDaniels, have one son, Darryl “D’Son” McDaniels, Jr.
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels was interviewed by The Historymakers on August 26, 2016.