Interview: Reverend Run
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Don’t call it a comeback?
Although he hasn’t been in the limelight until recently, Reverend Run needs no introduction. As one third of the group RUN DMC, Run, Darryl Mc Daniels and the late Jam Master Jay have spread the culture of hip-hop from their native Hollis, Queens to the world.
Reverend Run’s solo project, entitled Distortion, is the first release off of the new Russell Simmons Music Group (RSMG/Def Jam) label. With its pounding rock inspired rhythms and bombastic lyrics, the first single, “Mind on the Road,” grabs your attention immediately.
Not only does the album remind us of how hip hop used to be, but it also takes the genre in a new direction, drawing influences from such rock acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Sabbath.
Distortion may be one of the most innovative rock albums to drop in 2005. Run is also premiering a new reality show on MTV entitled Run’s House.
Run, you’ve been in the game for a long time. What made you want to pursue a solo project?
I’m a poet. I enjoy it. I love a challenge. This album let me get back into the world and show people what I’ve got.
What are the influences for this new album?
Man, where do I begin? Myself. Run DMC stuff. A little bit of Larry Smith and Russell Simmons and the Beastie Boys. Nothing new. Basically it’s all the stuff that made us so great. And it’s a very RUN album. It reflects my personality.
Why did you choose to go with a virtual unknown producer (Whiteboy) instead of the hottest producers in the game?
I wanted to have full control over the album and yet I wanted some help. I instructed him on what I wanted and that’s that. He was just lettin’ Run be Run. I didn’t want to sound like anyone else, ya know?
Run, many of these new hip-hop artists coming out today weren’t even born when you first started in the game. How do you think the younger generation will react to your album?
I’m not sure how the younger generation will react. You can’t impress the youth by chasing them, you have to impress the youth by being yourself. This is me being me and I can’t change that. I’m not chasing the 50 Cent crowd with this album. They will find me.
Is it difficult to be a man of faith and a hip hop artist today?
No, it’s not. It’s like asking George Foreman if it’s difficult to be a man of faith and knock people out everyday. I think you can be both.
What do you think about the state of hip-hop right now?
I love it. Kanye West is getting all these Grammy nods. You got Common. And look at 50 Cent doing well in the business world. Look at Queen Latifah and Will Smith. Ice Cube has Cubevision productions and is in Hollywood makin’ movies. It’s wonderful that God has given all of these young black men an outlet to be creative. Hip hop culture has given us an outlet to be expressive.
You have a new reality show on MTV entitled Run’s House, can you tell me a little about that?
It premieres on October 14 and I’m extremely excited about it. This is my church and its mind blowing. I can be REVEREND Run on MTV. I’m in a good place for hip-hop, and the channel its on makes it so powerful. This is a very spiritual show and the fact that its on MTV will make it even more exciting. I’m very thankful for the opportunity.
What is the premise of the show?
I wake up in the morning and they show me composing a word of wisdom in my bathroom. I compose a word of wisdom and sent it out to a bunch of people at the beginning of the day. People like my brother Russell Simmons, Kid Rock and Serena Williams. After that, I get out the tub and my show starts. The show will somehow intertwine with those words, and at the end of the day I will end the show with a word of wisdom as well.
This show focuses on not only you, but your family as well. Was it difficult to have your lives taped for a TV show?
Not when you know what you’re here for. When you know your purpose in life, it’s easy to show others.
These are some of the first major moves you’ve taken since Jam Master Jay’s passing a few years ago? Is it difficult to get back into the limelight after his death?
When I have a show that’s usable and helpful, nothing is difficult. It’s only difficult when you don’t have love in your heart.