“I stepped on stage, at Live Aid. I’m one-of-the-reasons why Yeezys can get made.”
It is the rhyme that Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, a member of the legendary Run-D.M.C., drops when he speaks at schools and kids question his modern-day relevance. And while the average grade school student might not know any better, any older music fan certainly does, right down to the relationship that both DMC and Kanye West have with Adidas.
“When Steven Tyler took the mic stand in the ‘Walk This Way’ video that we made with Aerosmith,” McDaniels began to recall. “When he knocked the wall down, people tell me, ‘Yo D, it didn’t just happen in the video; that happened in the world.’”
That single moment can somewhat encapsulate the global impact of Run-D.M.C., both musically and culturally. But the group’s influence also reached far in to the fashion world. In 1986 the Queens-natives dropped “My Adidas.” It spurred the first time a major apparel company offered a sponsorship deal to a non-sports entity. Now three decades later, Run-D.M.C. has partnered with retailer Fanatics to release a line of officially licensed apparel that personalizes the iconic Run-D.M.C. logo for different teams based on the organization’s home city and colors.
“Our influence is respected,” McDaniels responded when I asked what it meant to him that so many years later, the logo and culture of Run-D.M.C. is still relevant and sought after. “But we had no idea that our presence was respected…to still be allowed to participate is very humbling.”
However as DMC accurately pointed out, the idea of the group’s logo changing for a city or cause is nothing new.
“But what (the Fanatics partnership) does is, it universally makes it personal to the particular person who is going to wear the merchandise,” he explained. The line, which includes shirts and snapback hats, officially launched with all NBA teams at the Association’s flagship store in New York on Wednesday.
McDaniels, who works closely with Madison Square Garden’s “Garden Of Dreams Foundation,” wore the Knicks shirt during Wednesday’s launch event. Despite his status as a New Yorker, DMC noted that seeing the logo repurposed for cities like Boston and Philadelphia wasn’t weird.
“Yunno why? Because it’s not our black, red and white logo with the city,” he said. “It’s the team’s colors.”
And like that wall-breaking collaboration with Aerosmith in the 80’s, McDaniels hopes that with the Fanatics partnership, the new incarnations of the Run-D.M.C. logo can unite fans of different teams.