by Whitney Ullman
Joseph Ward Simmons a.k.a. Rev. Run is a founding member of the iconic music group Run D.M.C.. The group will perform this Saturday, March 16, at the Borgata Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
With a lifetime of triumphs and tragedies, this practicing minister shared a few words of wisdom about the state of hip hop with NJ.com.
NJ.com: What are you most excited to do in Atlantic City?
Rev. Run: It's fun in Atlantic City. I DJ at the Borgata sometimes, but to come there with D.M.C. is a whole different energy. I love it out there. I love the Borgata Hotel; I love the energy and people. It's just different when you come with a group that you haven't performed with in years. It's been 12 years since we performed together. We did Made in America with Jay-z, which was a huge festival, so this is right on the heels of that.
When you are in Atlantic City, is there a favorite place you like to eat or hang out?
Rev. Run: Well, my favorite place overall is being at the Borgata Hotel to tell the truth. All the restaurants in there are incredible, I love their buffet, it's just an amazing place to go. I would say it's probably the best hotel in all of Atlantic City.
What can fans look forward to with your concert?
Rev. Run: Perhaps Peter Piper. Peter Piper is going to be the reason for the season. And vintage Run D.M.C. stuff: 'Its Tricky', 'My Adidas', 'Peter Piper', 'Walk This Way', 'Rock Box', 'King of Rock' -- all the big joints.
How did it feel to be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame?
Rev. Run: It feels really good. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a big deal for Run D.M.C. and it just felt like, back in the day we would say stuff, like, '[rapping] and my name would go down in the hall of fame,' and just to think that rhyme that we were saying as kids, just trying to be cool, it came to pass. So it was a really good feeling that our prophecy of what we said and what the rappers before us would say, actually happened with rappers. Also, in the video King of Rock, we are making fun and breaking into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...we had no idea we'd really be going in it...so that’s pretty cool.
You've seen the evolution of hip-hop, do you like the way it's evolved?
Rev. Run: It’s evolved really good. I'm loving Drake, he’s the new pioneering guy for me because Drake mixes his incredible singing voice with amazing rap. So if I was to say, if anything has been pioneering since us, it’s Drake. I mean Kanye is a genius when he made 808 & Heartbreak; that was really good. I'm not gonna lie because it was his [Kanye's] heart...but Drake is a pioneering rapper for me.
Who do you think is a real game changer in the music industry?
Rev. Run: Well I’m loving Kanye West and the group Fun. With the record that they have “We Are Young”, it kind of blows my mind, so I like what Fun has done, but I love what Kanye West is doing even more. But, I love em both.
Whats on your iPod right now?
Rev. Run: The only thing on my ipod is Anita Baker and Sade and maybe my friend Tyrese. I';m really not into iPods. I listen to pop radio, and Hot 97 and Power 105. I’m a listener to radio and I get excited. I'm weird; I listen to Future, I listen to Drake, I listen to the new stuff. What excites me is brand new pop hip hop. That's my truth, it's weird but that's my truth.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Rev. Run: I get inspired from everything that I hear that's really big in pop on the radio. So I'm not really a guy that goes searching up under thing -- if it's a big pop smash I get inspired. I'm not like an underground guy. I mean, if I get lucky and hear something that's great and just beginning, it's fine, but usually I'm just inspired by the stuff that's just right in my face.
Why did you decide to become a minister?
Rev. Run: Mainly because of the craziness of the rock lifestyle put me into wanting to be balanced and finding God. I was so caught up in the competitive vibes of being the 'King of Rap,' that it kind of pushed me over the top to find God...
Can we expect a reality show in the future for Run D.M.C.?
Rev. Run: No, I don't think with Run D.M.C., but I have some television stuff coming soon that I can't talk about yet until it's ready to roll, but there's more television in my future.
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.