TVD Live Shots: Run DMC and Slick Rick at the Eventim Apollo, 7/5

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends Run DMC made a triumphant return to London last week marking their first gig in the UK in three years. Taking the stage at the famed Eventim Apollo, MC Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Joseph “Run” Simmons, and Jason Mizell Jr. (who performs as DJ Jam Master J’Son, the son of the late DJ Jam Master Jay) brought the near-capacity crowd back to a time when hip hop was only just beginning to take over the world. I have never seen Run DMC live, and this would be my first time photographing a hip hop show—and it was one for the ages.

The importance of Run DMC cannot be understated. The list of firsts is second to none. They were the first rappers on MTV, the first rappers on Saturday Night Live, the first rappers on the cover of Rolling Stone, the first rappers to win a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. They single-handedly, seamlessly fused two genres to start a revolution and to breathe new life into a rock ‘n’ roll band on a downward spiral. They would ultimately become one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop culture, and one of the most famous hip hop acts of all time.

Opening the night was British born American rapper and legend in his own right Slick Rick, aka Rick the Ruler. Rick is known for his storytelling abilities and as a pioneer in adding narratives to hip hop. Although he never really broke through to mainstream success as a solo artist, his music has been sampled and interpolated over 600 times, in over 35 songs, by artists including many of the biggest names in hip hop. Rick took to the stage in his signature throne and wowed the crowd with a selection of old school classics that would not only warm up the crowd for the headliner, but set the stage and the mood for an epic headlining set.

Run DMC hit the stage shortly after opening the set with “Rock Box” and then straight into “Sucker MCs,” and “It’s Tricky.” “We got too many f***ing hits,” announced Joseph “Run” Simmons, and he was right. The setlist was coming in fast and furious, celebrating the group’s impressive catalog, finishing up with a blistering, rousing version of “Walk This Way.” There was also a tribute to their fallen bandmate, delivered in the skillful hands of his son (and fellow DJ) Jason Jr.

The entire set seemed to fly by, and the crowd seemed a bit stunned to be left without an encore. I was left thinking what a hell of a show I just witnessed, but also asking myself—was this a hip hop show or a rock ‘n’ roll show? I think it was a bit of both. Either way, it was an absolutely brilliant night and a show that I can check off the bucket list.

SLICK RICK

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