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Rap pioneer DMC explains how a Sarah McLachlan song helped him stave off suicide

by Geoff Edgers, Stuff, 7 July 2016

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Mr Edgers interviews rap artist Darryl “DMC” McDaniels on the publication of his memoir Ten Ways Not To Commit Suicide. “The thing with the book is, all of this happened to me while everybody else’s life was still going on. And nobody took time out to say, ‘What’s up with D?'”.

Q: I think people might be surprised to learn that for about a year, the only song you wanted to hear was Sarah McLachlan’s Angel. Explain that.

A: It was the void in me. The voice gone. Jay doing all my lyrics for me and me pretending. I could not speak. I get in the car after coming back from Europe. And the driver … he turns the radio on and he turns it to Hot 97. That was the last thing I wanted to hear. I hear Method Man and Busta just saying because of the success of hip-hop we’ve got liquor companies, clothing companies, our own labels.

They were saying, “When I’m 40 years old, I ain’t going to be rapping no more.” I said, “Yo, turn it off, turn it to anything other than that station. He turns it to I think Light FM. I just heard “Fly away from here, from this dark cold hotel room” and when I heard that something inside me said, “You know, D, you might not know what’s going on but it’s good to be alive and just exist.” For one whole year, she’s all I listened to. It was the only thing that made me feel good.

Q: Do you look back at Run-DMC and are you grateful for what it gave you? Now you’re doing graphic novels, volunteering with schools and doing your own thing.

A: Yeah, it has empowered me. Not from a rich-and-famous standpoint. It empowered me with people. I didn’t realise the DMC thing was the setup for what I was really supposed to be doing.

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