Happy birthday, Joseph Simmons! Bigger, badasser, tougher than leather!
Better known by the stage name Run, Rev. Run or DJ Run, is one of the founding members of the influential hip hop group Run–D.M.C. He is also a practicing minister, known as Reverend Run.
Run is the younger brother of artist Danny Simmons and Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Records.
Run founded Run-D.M.C. in 1983 with Darryl McDaniels (DMC) and Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay—rest in peace, homie). Along with LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy, Run & co. pioneered new school hip hop music. They were the first group in the genre to have an album certified gold (Run-D.M.C., 1984) and to be nominated for a Grammy Award; the first to earn a platinum record (King of Rock, 1985), the first to earn a multi-platinum certification (Raising Hell, 1986), the first to have their music video broadcast on MTV, the first to appear on American Bandstand and the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Run-D.M.C. was the only hip hop act to perform at the U.S. Live Aid concert in 1985.
Before Run-D.M.C., Run was the lead vocalist in the hip hop group named The Force.
Run began using the stage name of “Rev. Run” after he was ordained as a Pentecostal minister by E. Bernard Jordan, Run’s spiritual mentor. Jordan also named him “Protege of the Year Award” in 2004.
Run released his first solo album, Distortion, in 2005. The first single from the album, “Mind on the Road”, uses samples from the song “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll”, in the tradition of Run–D.M.C.’s 1980s hits which use samples like Aerosmith’s hit “Walk This Way”.
In 2008, Simmons and his wife Justine teamed up with Kool-Aid and a non-profit organisation called KaBOOM! to help build playgrounds in underserved communities. With Kool-Aid, they are helping to build twenty four playgrounds over the course of 2008 and hope to raise awareness for the need for safe play spaces.
In 2017, Simmons said he was adopting a part-time vegetarian diet because God advised him to.
Run turned 55 today. Who’s house? Run’s house!
Featured image via Social Media Week.