June 2020

Walk This Way

DMC Explains Overcoming Alcoholism, Depression and Spasmodic Dysphonia

by Omar Burgess

In his recent documentary, “Walk This Way,” DMC tells how a Sarah McLachlan song prevented him from committing suicide.

For the better part of five years, many Hip Hop fans were unaware that legendary emcee Darryl “DMC” McDaniels was battling Spasmodic Dysphonia. The condition, which causes involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the voice box,  can ultimately result in the loss of one’s voice. In addition to succumbing to alcoholism, DMC said he was fighting depression with what he felt to be a diminished role within Hip Hop. During a July 10 airing of the documentary “DMC: Walk This Way,” DMC chronicled how he overcame his struggles.

“You can ask my wife, I read the bible 20 times from start to finish and that didn’t work,” DMC explained. “Somebody tells me about this guy named Deepak Chopra, so I go to Borders and Barnes & Nobles and it’s like, ‘Meaning of Life!’ I get all his books, and that didn’t work…I was at a point where I was losing it all, and Jack Daniels became my best friend. My other best friend was Jim Beam.”
After a long bout with alcoholism, Spasmodic Dysphonia and the depression with no longer being able to rap, DMC said he often stood on the balcony of his hotel room and considered jumping off and committing suicide. Ultimately, it would be another musician who stopped him. After a hired tour driver hounded him for an autograph, the driver turned the radio on Hot 97. Since he was tired of hearing music from the Hip Hop culture he felt he was no longer a part of, DMC requested the driver turn the station, and it randomly landed on a contemporary/inspirational station.

“I’m in the back of the car, and I hear this song by Sarah McLachlan called ‘Angel,’” DMC recounted. “I hear that song, and something in me says, ‘D, it’s good to be alive. Life is good.’ That song saved my life. It kept me from committing suicide.”

DMC: Walk This Way, a new documentary about the life of Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (of the legendary hip-hop trio Run DMC) premiered on cable network Ovation TV. Directed by artist and author Justin Bua, the film features rap icons such as Ice-T, Eminem, MC Lyte, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz and Mix Master Mike, and explores McDaniel’s post-stardom struggles with alcoholism and the loss of his voice, as well as his personal redemption. The documentary is a must see for Run DMC fans and music fans across the board.

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