Dr. Butcher Could Care Less About Run-DMC

Last December I was lucky enough to speak to Dr. Butcher for a couple hours, and he blessed me with some amazing stories about everything from his work to Kool G Rap, Akinyele and MF Grimm, plus a whole lot of shit I didn’t even know he was involved in. I’m not quite ready to drop the whole session on you just this minute, but I couldn’t resist leaking this section where he shares his feelings about Run-DMC, which are not unlike some of the things I mentioned in this post.

Robbie: Being a Queens dude, did you see the backlash against Run-DMC?

Dr. Butcher: The funny thing – me coming from Queens – I was never a Run-DMC fan. I was probably the most anti Run-DMC fan anybody had known. I just did not like Run-DMC. Mainly, I think a lot of it had to do with that I was such a fan of Grandmaster Flash and the Fearless FourTito and DLB – those dudes were like my idols and stuff. Run-DMC kinda took a lot of their spotlight, and I think I took it personal. [laughs] It was a funny thing. They kinda crushed the careers of a lot of those old school dudes. I wasn’t really too crazy about Run’s lyrics or nothin’ like that – he just seemed too cocky to me – so I just never liked him. I just felt ‘Oh man, the Fearless Four should be where y’all guys are. Y’all suck!’ But LL was always a huge Run-DMC fan, because he was from the neighborhood – he could frequently see Run riding around. But I didn’t care. He actually wrote some songs for them that he didn’t get credit for. I’m not gonna say which ones they were, but if you listen to around the Raising Hell material you may be able to pick it out. If you go back and listen to LL’s songs I think you’ll be able to notice the similarities in the flows and the writing. But he was so excited to be around those guys and be with Def Jam and Russell Simmons and them, I think he was helping them write and stuff.

There was also the incident where Run made LL change the beat for ‘Rock The Bells’ because it was too similar to ‘Peter Piper’.

There was a lot of that stuff goin’ on between him and Run. I believe Run was really jealous of him because LL was such a good lyricist and he was the young dude comin’ up, getting a lot of attention. But LL used to get a lot of flack from the neighborhood, he used to come-up to my school and get jumped by guys frequently. When he made his first records he used to come up there to pick me up from school in his car – he had a brand new red Audi he used to ride around in, so a lot of guys were jealous of him, and he would go places and get jumped by groups of guys and robbed all the time. It became kinda dangerous for him because it became the ‘thing to do’ – whenever he would go someplace, it would be the thing to do. ‘Oh, there’s LL! Let’s jump him and beat him up!’ He was a big guy – I mean he was a tall kid for his age – so he wasn’t an easy dude that you were just gonna beat-up, so it would frequently take seven,eight guys to jump him and beat him up. When I say ‘beat him up’, I don’t mean he was laying in the hospital or nothing, it was just…seven guys against one guy – he’s not gonna win!

He told me a story of later on – this is three or four album down in his career – he was goin’ to the Latin Quarter one day and he was waitin’ on line, and some guy was callin’ him names and stuff – he was just minding his business, he had pulled-up in his car and had his jewellery on, getting a lot of attention from the girls and some guy I guess is jealous, so he was callin’ him names: ‘Oh you a faggot!’ Just cursin’, tryin’ to embarrass him. He had kinda bulked-up, he had been training – boxing and stuff – in his basement he used to keep a punching bag, and working on weights. I think he started studying a little martial arts too. He was like ‘Yo man, the dude was just talkin’ a lotta stuff Drew, and after a while I just got tired of it and I was like ‘Yo money, you know what? Let me take my jewellery off – let’s get in the street!’ He said he took all his jewellery off and gave it to E-Love [who] I think was with him, and said ‘Yo! You talkin’? Let’s see what you got!’ and brought him in the middle of the street. Everybody was shocked – no one expected him to do it, and he said he whipped the shit outta this dude! He beat him so bad he had him like draggin’ him in the street! He was just beatin’ him like a little kid.

And after that, I kid you not, I never heard any other story about someone jumping LL. That was the last time I heard about anyone wanting to fight LL. He was like ‘Yo Drew, after that – everywhere I went I never heard a peep outta anybody! All of that stuff just stopped that one moment.’ The dude was the brunt of a lot of stuff that went on. He would come up to my school, we were just sitting there, jjust being cool…the thing about him, he was a young kid, so he could be a little obnoxious at times, because you getting attention from girls now, he never got attention before, and guys were just jealous of him. They would just jump him for no reason! I was 4’5″ so there was not much I could do in the way of helping him! Luckily, nothing really serious ever happened to him. I think Run was like that too. I think Run was definitely was jealous of him. L admired him, so I think L ignored it for a while but after a while he just had to say ‘Whatever man’ and just do LL, so he took off and did his own thing. Run’s a funny cat like that – I still don’t really care for that cat too much – even on a personal level.

One day I was on a tour with Jay-Z and we were all doing a show together at a hotel, and I approached the dude ‘cos I heard he was doin’ the gospel rap and stuff – he had a gospel label – so at the time, the guy Understanding I was working with, he came up as a gospel rapper and I wanted to approach Run about Understanding and let him hear some real hip-hop with gospel. He was sitting at the bar, we were in the lobby waiting to go to the arena, and I approached him and said ‘Yo, what’s up man? I’m Dr. Butcher and…’ He just kinda looked at me, he was like [in a dismissive tone] ‘Yo, whats up’. I was like ‘How’s your gospel label comin’?’ But I think ‘cos I was with Jay-Z and ’em I was tryin’ to play him and make fun of him for bein’ into gospel rap, and his remark was ‘It’s Reverend Run records! What ‘chu think!?’ I just looked at the guy like ‘What!?’ It just threw me back – I was ready to just go at the dude! Akinyele was there, he was like ‘Yo Butch, just leave it alone. Chill, don’t even go there’. From there, it just made it worse for me, ‘cos we all lived in the same neighborhood – he lived in Jamaica Estates and I lived in Jamaica Estates – so I would frequently see him rolling around in his Rolls Royce. He just irked me, man. To this day, I don’t really care for the dude much. I’ll put it out there.

When I first started listening to stuff like Just-Ice and BDP around ’87, Run-DMC just sounded like dinosaurs to me.

[laughs] Yeah, exactly. I’m not gonna knock anything they’ve done for hip-hop – they definitely took hip-hop to another level. Melle Mel and them are bitter and salty about that but they ruled hip-hop for a long time. Unlike a lot of the other pioneers, Melle Mel don’t really have nothing to be mad about. I know Tito from the Fearless Four, and he talks about ‘Them dudes were making millions of dollars – back then – on tour. Them guys were making millions, and that was unheard of at the time!’ They had their fancy tour buses and all that kind of stuff, so to be upset at Run-DMC was kinda childish. To act as though hip-hop owes you something…a lotta hip-hop dudes – Funky Four, the Cold Crush Brothers – didn’t see any money. Grandmaster Caz wrote ‘Rappers Delight’ and didn’t get a dime for it! He has a reason to be upset!

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30 Comments so far
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“Say What a peter piper? The hell with childish rhymes”

Robbie you should have asked him about Ultra dissin’ Run DMC on Ego Trippin.

Comment by Marc Davis 02.21.08 @

Reverend Run, how ’bout Reverend Runny coke nose, go watch Walk This Way video and count how many times he wipes his nose, then go watch Tougher Than Leather and peep how skiied he looks during the Mary, Mary performance… all i gotta say is High-powered! He’s a hype.

Comment by Murgatroid 02.21.08 @

DMC was cool though. i love those stories of him buying 16 forties a day and giving 8 away to his friends and drinking 8 himself, driving around Queens drunk in his fullsize black Bronco that fools used to call him and it “Wax-a-nigga” Gettin’ paid off rap rules!!

Comment by Murgatroid 02.21.08 @

“drinking 8 himself, driving around Queens drunk in his fullsize black Bronco”
Drink driving…Yeah real cool move…:-(

Comment by Oldaz 02.21.08 @

Murgatroid everyone knows Run had drug probs. He’s talked about it openly in books. I don’t see how you can imply he’s a fraud trying to hide it.

Comment by bbatson 02.21.08 @

Tooo hilarious! I have to admit that back in the day, wile I did like Run-DMC, I always did prefer Darryl Mac; Run just seemed too cocky, even within the context of the group. Who’s house? Run’s House? What about Run-DMC Jam Master Jay’s (RIP) House?

Comment by Fosterakahunter 02.21.08 @

What’s sad at the end of the day is that when Jam master Jay passed away people implied he wasn’t really looked after as far as money goes, since he couldn’t go ask his brother for cash like Run (supposedly did).

I remember reading something about Russel Simmons and them never forgiving JMJ for not completely signing over Onyx, or something…..

Chuck D called Simmons a snake a long time ago and he was 200% correct.

Comment by silent minority 02.21.08 @

Yo Robbie, Dope interview! I hope it’s part one of a series with dr. butcher, though.
As for the LL beatdowns. I used to hear about that too. I had friends in queens who told me how LL fought a whole crew once, and held his own. He may be r&b’d out now, but LL paid his dues.

Comment by DOC SAMSON 02.21.08 @

Good interview.

never really liked/got into Run DMC either, probably because i wasnt around in teh 80’s, but still

Comment by Liam 02.21.08 @

The first hip hop (or any music) tape I EVER bought was Run-DMC – Raising Hell…

Never been a fan of them dudes…ever

But I did like DMC…

“Reverend” Run is a flamin homo though

almost as gay as Gospel Rap

Comment by AFFECKS 02.22.08 @

Peace and Respect 2 the Mighty Dr. Butcher!!!

Comment by UNDERSTANDING 02.22.08 @

“Beats To The Rhyme” is still one of the winningest b-sides ever… production techniques alone… JMJ pressing the acapellas to acetate and cutting them in during the mix–bonkers!?… and the fact that it starts with “Step back off the ropes, punk!” and ends with “Dick in your mouth all day!”… cocky or not… coked up or not… 40’d up driving around or not…that shit is it… back in like ’86, I heard a rumor that LL was in Toronto promoting “Radio,” and when he busted the line, “rhymin’ and designin’ with your girl in my lap” he pointed out a guy in the front who was with his chick, and the dude pulled out and shot L in the foot… I never believed it, the guy who told me was always full of shit…

Comment by Murgatroid 02.22.08 @

I remember reading back in the day that LL wrote Can You Rock Like This. But I have to say, I really liked Run-DMC. Although I thought they relied too much on rock tracks (I loved your blind, rockbox, and king of rock) and I never liked their back in forth rhymes like hard times, you talk to much, and its like that. But over all, Run-DMC was dope. Not that anyone cares, but my favorite cuts are all four Krush-Groove songs, Roots, Rap, Reggea, Your Blind, Run’s House, and I love the Ave.

Comment by turtle 02.22.08 @

They came out before my time but I actually liked quite a few of their tracks, still do, and I love the back and forth on It’s Like That.

Comment by silent minority 02.22.08 @

Ya’ll buggin’ dissin Run DMC. Dr Butcher has a right to his opinion but he’s still bordering on being a hater.

As far as LL getting his ass beat… HELL YEAH! That cat you to get chase around queens regularly, especially at Andrew Jackson High School. Make no mistake about it, Queens DID NOT love LL.

And I don’t know this, but one day during the “Walking with a panther” days I saw him up at Green Acres Mall and he had gotten huge seemingly over night, not only his muscles, but his head was HUGE! I’m no expert, but from that day I always thought he was on steroids. Not that I would blame him after all the ass kickin’s he used to take.

Comment by Ausar 02.23.08 @

Kool Keith once told he was chillin @ Latin Quarters and JMJ was in the spot and legendary Drug dealer Supreme Magnetic (The puerto rican dude on the back of the paid & full album)tried to snatch JMJ’s dookey rope and run, but the rope wouldn’t break and JMJ knocked him out for the count with one punch! He said JMJ was known for being nice with his hands in the streets!

Comment by Marc Davis 02.23.08 @

Run on coke???!!! Back in the day Run was called the son of Kurtis Blow when Run was his d.j. back when Kurtis used to perform at the Fever night club. They were all sniffin’ Whodini, Run, Russell, Kurtis, etc.

Comment by Brooklyn 'Lo 02.23.08 @

This is very interesting; I respect Dr. Butcher’s honesty, everybody wasn’t on Run-DMC’s dick. Run-DMC were very instrumental in taking Hip Hop global; granted they might not have been as skillful as some other emcees of their era, but they were at the right place at the right time in history, you can never deny that. Queens wasn’t feeling LL? Why did Queens hate LL so much?

Comment by Bronxbred 02.23.08 @

I read on some forum a few years back how LL got robbed for his jacket back in the days. Must’ve been in the pre-punch bag era….

Comment by the average man 02.24.08 @

It always bugs me out how the”greats”get shots taken at them,say what you want about Run-DMC,but HipHop owes them too much,before we had any HipHop publications(Source,XXl,Vibe,Rappages,Right ON!,Rapmasters)it was their popularity that streamlined this effect.
Years from now,these(chicken noodle niggas)Lil Wayne heads”,will be saying the same shit about KRS,Rakim,Kane,Chuck D,KoolG.etc.,we need proper education when it comes to HipHop history,thank God for Unkut.com.And oh yeah,years ago KoolG.,was asked in Rappages about his take on Canibus and LL’s battle,he said Canibus was wrong to confront LL,because LL had done too much for Queens and HipHop period,G said this.Respect to Dr.Butcher,but y’all need to get your own understanding first.-Roger Jones

Comment by Roger Jones 02.24.08 @

yo alot of cats r showing their age…..wow

Comment by mercilesz 02.24.08 @

dope interview…. never knew run was that type of dude

Comment by REEF 02.26.08 @

As for the LL thing… it’s totally understandable, even if it’s foul. Because as much as a person’s hometown SHOULD support and respect someone, they’re usually the first to start with the hate. I could imagine it was that way for LL, being 17 years old or so driving up to the high school on some ‘come-thru’ shit. High school is a constant attention-fest anyway, and anyone who can’t compete is always gettin’ salty- and I’d imagine no one there was competing with L once he pulled up. Also, there’s always an aura in a star’s hometown (especially amongst those who knew them) that makes them feel like ‘fuck that dude, I should be where he is’. So yeah, the Queens dislike for L in those days is understandable.

As for the Run-DMC issue, I look at it like this: for every person that makes it to superstar level, there’s someone who’s gonna feel theyt’re not all that. Especially once you’re being told every day that they’re 10 times greater than they are (because that’s what they do with anyone once they become big, whether they’re great or not). I think a lot of that makes Run-DMC kind of “uncool” for the Golden Age folk, because there became a point where they were no longer just hot to the hip-hop circle. And whenever that happens, instinct kicks in to root for someone else automatically.

Comment by DANJAMANIA 02.27.08 @

i like their music alot but i just think they werent ever part of the hip hop circle.they were good at what they did.and its fun to listen to….but they were more simple than caz and moe dee and like robbie said when 86 and 87 rolled around it was more evident than ever.

Comment by mercilesz 02.27.08 @

I just found this site today. It’s pretty much the illest thing I’ve ever seen.

It’s already changed my life about four times in the last two hours. God, I feel like such a herb for not knowing about it sooner. I thought I was up on *ish. Apparently not. Damn.

Comment by Apex 02.28.08 @

big up to run dmc,legends in the game..so let’s see what other hip hop legend we could cut down for the next issue

Comment by dj blendz 03.01.08 @

Interesting stuff. Butcher always had skills and now he has stories. How did he go from this to working with a useless prick like MF Grimm?

Comment by Drew Huge 03.03.08 @

MF Grimm may be many things, but he isn’t useless, and he isn’t a ‘prick.’

I’d say that’s my opinion, but it’s actually fact.

Comment by silent minority 03.09.08 @

Drew seems to be on a bit of a Grimm hating tip at the moment! Interesting read, sure thres a radio interview between Run and Mr Magic where he addresses his substance abuse from around that time too

Comment by Cro 03.10.08 @

I’m not looking for e-beef (sad that such a term even fkng exists), just there’s certain people I wouldn’t disrespect like that, such as Grimm.

Say you don’t like his music, lyrics whatever but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, fuck it I stand by my words online and in real life.

Comment by silent minority 03.10.08 @

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