My love of Run DMC started with Rapper’s Delight. I think it was high school friend Marshall that introduced the awesome foursome (me and my three friends, not J.J. Evans and his) to rap via the Sugerhill Gang via the classic 20 minute song. We soon had it memorized, and it wasn’t uncommon to find us at some kind of school or church event standing in a circle rapping away. As far as the ladies were concerned, we could have been discussing slide rules and magnets, but we were having a blast. “Clearly these four white rappers had an influence on the likes of Vanilla Ice, The Beastie Boys, and Eminem that cannot be undervalued.” — Rapper’s Digest
Check it out, I’m the C-A-S-A, the N-O-V-A,
And the rest is F-L-Y,
You see I go by the code of the doctor of the mix,
And these reasons I’ll tell you why.
You see, I’m six foot one, and I’m tons of fun
When I dress to a T,
You see, I got more clothes than Muhammad Ali
and I dress so viciously.
I got bodyguards, I got two big cars
That definitely ain’t the wack,
I got a Lincoln Continental and a sunfoofed Cadillac.
I admit it. Sometimes I tell made up stories to my students. Made up stories about my past. Why do I do this? Partly because my stories are so ridiculous that surely they won’t believe me. And partly because my stories are so ridiculous that it will be amazing if they believe me. So it’s possible that during my many years of teaching I may have briefly discussed with my students the rapping scene that I was part of back in the 80’s. I rapped like no other, broke rapping ground, single handedly created rap sub-genres. In my rapping history I had at least two aliases. One was “E-Z P-Z.” E-Z P-Z was the fun, nonthreatening party rapper who rapped about having fun, busting moves, talking to nice girls, and going to church. As often happens though, I lost my way. I harkened the call of the gangsta side of the street. I began to spit out the nastiest raps about the nastiest parts of life–nasty parties, nasty girls, doing crimes, and not going to church. I became “ICE-3” aka “ICE-TREY,” and totally lived the thug life on the mean streets of Abilene. The stories I could tell, both good, and nasty, would make your eyes pop out. If you don’t believe me, just ask my students. They know it’s true.
This button wasn’t part of my collection as a child. It was 1988 or 1989 when Run DMC played at Kemper Arena. My friend Dan knew a girl who’s dad had one of the suites–a few seats behind glass with access to a kitchenette and toilet. So when when Run DMC came to town, Dan wrangled access to the suite and invited me along. I’d been a rap fan for a few years. In high school Marshall introduced us to The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and a bunch of funk records. I was mostly, like everyone, familiar with the Raising Hell album. I think this concert was to support the next one, Tougher than Leather. Between acts we would wander out into the hall for concessions, that’s when I got this button, and to people watch. This was not the demographic that any of these small town Kansas boys grew up with. But rap has the power to unify.
So, while behind glass is not the best way to enjoy a concert–a sort of a communal experience, it was still pretty sweet. A little group that no one had heard of started off the show. They came out in matching jumpsuits doing coordinated karate moves. Oh what was their name, oh yeah PUBLIC ENEMY! Then there was this little two-man group that only had a couple hits. Who were they again, oh yeah DJ JAZZY JEFF AND THE FRESH PRINCE! Then Run DMC destroyed the place! Everyone, including the eight white kids behind the glass, were rapping along, dancing, high-fiving the folks outside the glass. it was great. I would love to go to that concert again.
I was born
Son of Byford, brother of Al
Bad as my mamma and Run’s, my pal
It’s McDaniels, not McDonald’s
These rhymes are Darryl’s, those burgers are RONALD’S