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Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels Talks Russell Simmons & Misogyny In Music

Darryl "D.M.C." Matthews McDaniels
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Darryl "D.M.C." Matthews McDaniels poses for portrait after the 'I'm DMC I Can Draw!' at Jacob Javitz Center on Oct. 10, 2014 in New York City.

On Sunday (Dec. 3) night, LL Cool J became the first hip-hop artist recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors. Fellow rap pioneer Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels was present at the Washington, D.C. gala to fete LL, but he took a moment to speak to Billboard about the recent accusations of sexual misconduct against hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and misogyny in the industry in general.  

“There’s a lot of that going on right now. And whatever’s happening, it’s due time,” McDaniels said. “LL is a hip-hop artist who didn’t disrespect or degrade women. He lifted them up. A lot of hip-hop now, is ‘bitch, ho, I’ll meet you after the party.’ Hopefully these examples, like Russell and the Weinstein thing, will change the way we portray women in entertainment.”

And when he says entertainment, McDaniels is talking about the media spectrum. “Sometimes I look at these reality shows, and little girls need to know they don’t have to be the ones in reality shows chasing rappers and chasing athletes. They can be the fully clothed women with the brief case running the whole business.”

He credits Chuck D of Public Enemy with helping to move forward the conversation. “Chuck D said something marvelous a couple years ago: ‘If hip-hop is so great, what happened to the fully clothed female rapper who had something to say?’ Like Latifah, MC Lyte, Monie Love. So now because of what’s going on, those are the types of artists we need.”

McDaniels’ history with women and rap runs deep. As he shared with Billboard, it was a woman who gave him the idea of creating his echo. “Even before ‘Rapper’s Delight,’ I was sitting at home and the MC was playing ‘Good Times’ and then this girl came on and it was the first time I heard a rapper using an echo chamber. She came on and it went, ‘To all of you my name is Sha-Sha, I’m not a millionaire but I have a car-car.’ That tripped me out. So because of a woman I started using the signature, ‘My name is DMC-C.’ I started using the echoes because of female named Sha-Rock that nobody knows about but now that I’m speaking about her, they will.”

Wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the maxim “Censorship is UnAmerican,” McDaniels was quick to point out he’s not in favor of gagging lyrics. “This isn’t about censorship or freedom of speech. It’s about giving ample opportunity to the most powerful things that can transform our communities.”

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