He's one-half of the pioneering Run-D.M.C., a trio who broke nearly every boundary for hip-hop and sold millions of records along the way. Born May 31, 1964, in Harlem but raised in Hollis, Queens, Darryl "D.M.C." Matthews McDaniels became fascinated with hip-hop the moment he heard Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. He first learned to DJ and went through a couple different monikers (Grandmaster Get High, Easy D) before he settled on DMC. His childhood friend Joseph "Run" Simmons convinced him to switch to rapping since mutual friend Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell was already proving himself behind the turntables. The three formed Run-D.M.C. in 1982, released their self-titled, debut album in 1984, landed the first hip-hop track on Billboard's Top Ten singles charts with their Aerosmith collaboration "Walk This Way," and maintained a dedicated following well into the '90s.
It was during a 1997 tour that DMC became unglued, going as far as to consider suicide. Run-D.M.C. was going through creative differences and DMC was dealing with spasmodic dysphonia, a voice disorder characterized by involuntary movements of the larynx's muscles. A song he heard on the radio, Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," saved him. The song touched DMC and made him reconsider his life and career. He spent the next few years considering different solo projects before settling on an autobiography. While researching his early years, his mother told DMC for the first time that he was adopted. The shocking news was the beginning of a quest for the rapper and soon he was working with the VH1 network on a documentary chronicling his search for his birthmother. His life was shaken again in 2002 when Jam Master Jay was senselessly murdered in a studio session in Queens, ending Run-D.M.C. DMC's solo career would soon take shape and recording sessions with members of Buckcherry, Aerosmith, and the Cars were soon underway. DMC's musical savior, Sarah McLachlan, also appeared on his solo debut, Checks Thugs and Rock N Roll. The album appeared in 2006 as VH1 was premiering DMC: My Adoption Journey. ~ David Jeffries