USC Upstate News

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Legendary Rap Group Run-DMC Coming To USC Upstate

01- 12- 2009

Spartanburg, S.C. - As part of its Black History Month Celebration, the University of South Carolina Upstate will host Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of the groundbreaking rap group Run-DMC on Monday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Campus Life Center Ballroom. DMC is recognized as a pioneer in stoking the popularity of rap and hip-hop into the best-selling and most influential musical genre that it is today.

DMC Press ImageBut he won’t be on campus to rap. Instead, McDaniels will share his life story – from his success as a rap star to become a published author to learning as an adult that he was adopted and later becoming an adoption advocate.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Darryl McDaniels stature come to our campus as we celebrate the accomplishments and milestones of Black History Month,” said April Palmer, assistant director of student life at USC Upstate. “His life story is such an inspiration to young people. He shares his experiences of rap fame, searching for his birth mother, championing causes for orphaned and adopted children, and more. Above all, he gives his audience hope that with hard work and desire, their dreams are possible too.”

First and foremost, McDaniels is known for his role in transforming the musical landscape as one-third of the trailblazing, multi-platinum rap group Run-DMC.  He has been in the public eye for the past 25 years, since forming the now legendary group with Joseph (Rev. Run) Simmons and the late, great Jason (Jam Master Jay) Mizell. This multi-platinum music group has sold over 30 million singles and albums worldwide and was the first rappers to earn a gold album (for Run-DMC/Profile in 1984), the first to earn a platinum album (for King of Rock/Profile in 1985), the first to go multi-platinum (for Raising Hell/Profile in 1986), the first to have their videos played on MTV, the first to appear on “American Bandstand” and “Saturday Night Live,” and the first rap band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone and Spin.  After their last group release (Down with The King/ Profile 1999) Rolling Stone Magazine wrote, “it’s hardly surprising that it’s (Run-DMC) now the first rap group to come back from the dead.  This may be its most impressive achievement, given all the hip-hop heroes who’ve gone out like Hoffa.”

After Mizell’s untimely death on October 30, 2002, DMC, released his first solo album entitled Checks, Thugs, Rock n Roll featuring the critically acclaimed single “Just Like Me” with Sarah McLaughlin and the poignant tribute to Jam Master Jay entitled “Missing My Friend.”  His critically acclaimed story "DMC: My Adoption Journey" the first documentary in the VH1 Rock Docs franchise was awarded a News & Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming in 2007.

In addition to his musical accomplishments, McDaniels is a published author. His book “King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility and My Life with Run-DMC” (St. Martins/2001) was written with Bruce Haring, and with the forward by rapper/actor Will Smith. The book offers a flavorful tale of his rise within the music business while stressing the importance of respect and responsibility in today’s society. It has received rave reviews nationwide. Entertainment Weekly called it “strangely compelling, bravely honest…plenty of entertaining anecdotes about life back in the day to keep you turning the pages. Like Will Smith, McDaniels is a born charmer.” 

In between recording, performing and writing, McDaniels has become an advocate for adoption and foster kids. He is actively involved with the Felix Organization- a nonprofit organization that promotes adoption and works with adoptees and foster children. He co-founded the organization after finding out, at the age of 35 that he was adopted; his realization that there are kids out there that are stuck in the foster system or in poor situations prompted him to make a difference.  He is also a spokesperson for the Children’s Aid & Family Services and the Adoption Institute. He has spoken before Congress and before various State legislatures on behalf of adoption rights. He’s received numerous awards including the Hard Rock’s 2007 Love All Serve All Award for his numerous philanthropic endeavors and was recently nominated for induction into the 2009 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. (

This event, which is sponsored by Student Life and Athletics, is free and open to the public. For more details, contact April Palmer, assistant director of student life, at (864) 503-5196.