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This month, hip-hop music turns the Big 5-0, and major industry legends have celebrated throughout the country with performances and special events honoring the milestone. On Thursday (Sept. 7), Darryl McDaniels (DMC) of Run-DMC hosted a 50th-anniversary Hip-Hop concert alongside Chuck D of Public Enemy at the Park City Song Summit. Following a high-energy performance in which he performed some of his biggest hits while also narrating some of the major influences that played a role in hip-hop’s evolution, he sat down with The Source to discuss 50 years of hip-hop, what it means to be a legend, and what he hopes the future of the genre will look like.

As far as some of the best things that McDaniels has seen during the global anniversary celebration, he said, “I think what’s beautiful is about a week ago, I saw an interview with Nas and he was saying to all his buddies from the era before him and even now: put out more music. The Foo Fighters are still putting out music, the [Rolling] Stones just dropped an incredible song called ‘Angry.’ It’s like I was saying on stage- they say hip-hop is a young person’s music. It was created by young people, but we’re older now. We should still be making music because the generations, whether it was the 70’s, the 80’s…it was all still growing. So I think for the 50th year, I want to say this: it’s been 50 years of hip-hop and we’re just getting started.”

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As for what McDaniels hopes the next 50 years of hip-hop look like, he said: “I see it going back to the art form and the culture, more break dancing, break dancing is in the Olympics now, so that’s going to expose more kids asking ‘where did this really come from?’ DJing, MCing, graffiti, graphic design, all of that…the way that rock and roll has become a part of American, European, South American culture. I was down in Mexico doing a Comic Con and all these little Mexican kids had on Metallica, Slayer, Run-DMC, and Naughty By Nature, so we’re here now. I think hip-hop is going to get more back to the description of the social lives that we all have.”

When called an icon, McDaniels interjected “we are all collectively iconic. I was watching a show and the guy was explaining what a legend is. He said there is not one legend- the people that are in any generation or era that experience a cultural phenomenon or experience or event. Because how do you become a legend if there’s nobody there to experience what you’re experiencing?”

Regarding legends, McDaniels was also quick to shout out to fellow legend Chuck D for an amazing performance. He also took time to mention his new single “Me and My Microphone,” a collab with Chuck D, Ice-T, and DJ Jazzy Jeff and also announced that he’ll be dropping a new song in the coming weeks with Travis Barker of Blink-182 on drums and others as well, noting that every genre has drawn its inspiration from many other genres before concluding with “let’s rock,” which elicited cheers from the crowd. 

On Friday, McDaniels and Chuck D joined David Manheim from the Dopey Podcast for “Hip-Hop: The First 50 Years,” a panel discussion of the origins and de-stigmatization of hip-hop that explored the roots and evolution of Hip-Hop culture, its impact on society, and how it has become a force for social justice and change.

Park City Song Summit is a multi-day music and wellness event featuring intimate conversations and musical performances from various genres. The event started out “of a passion for music and a mission to bring clarity and normalcy to the struggles musicians, artists, and music lovers alike face around mental health and dependency.”

The event offers audiences a chance to explore and celebrate the myth, inspiration, passion, and history of the song with a group of musicians, creatives, songwriters, thought leaders, and industry pioneers with performances, panels, discussions, health and wellness activities, workshops, and more.

More information can be found at https://parkcitysongsummit.com/

About The Author

Zoe has been a staff writer at The Source since January of 2017. She specializes in pop culture, music, tech, politics, women's issues, and more. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @zoeshrugged.

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