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As a member of trailblazing hip-hop group Run-DMC, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels was one of the most influential rappers ever to lay his rhymes down on record. Born in New York City on May 31, 1964, he was given up to foster care as a baby and eventually adopted by the McDaniels family and grew up in Hollis, Queens. As a teenager he became fascinated with the first generation of rappers coming out of The Bronx, and soon learned how to DJ. But by the time he started Run-DMC in 1981 with fellow Hollis locals Joseph "Run" Simmons and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, the latter was the man behind the mixer and turntables, with Run and DMC out front rapping. With Simmons' brother Russell (who would eventually become an iconic music-biz mogul) as their manager, they signed with Profile Records and released their first single, "It's Like That," in 1983. It was the first of a string of R&B hits for the trio (the Rap charts did not yet exist), and they released their self-titled debut LP the following year. Both that album and its follow-up, 1985's King of Rock, did well with hip-hop audiences, but it was Run-DMC's landmark 1986 collaboration with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith on a cover of the Aerosmith hit "Walk This Way" that became a crossover phenomenon and made Run-DMC mainstream stars. They were the first hip-hop act to earn a Grammy nomination, have a Gold or Platinum record, and get a video on MTV. Their reign continued for several more albums, but after 1993's Down With the King, the members became occupied with other pursuits. Though they continued to perform, nothing happened in the way of recording for some time. During this period, McDaniels was beset by depression and consequent substance abuse. He began feuding with Simmons, to the degree that the final Run-DMC album, Crown Royal, features little involvement from McDaniels. Jam Master Jay's murder in 2002 resulted in the group's dissolution. In 2006, McDaniels released his first solo album, Checks Thugs and Rock N Roll, but he also became involved in the comic book business, wrote an autobiography, and collaborated with a multitude of other artists.
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