‘Kings From Queens: The Story Of Run DMC’ Shows How Hip Hop Pioneers “Changed Pop, Changed Fashion, Changed Music” – Contenders TV: Doc + Unscripted

‘Kings From Queens: The Story Of Run DMC’ Shows How Hip Hop Pioneers “Changed Pop, Changed Fashion, Changed Music” – Contenders TV: Doc + Unscripted

It’s been over 40 years since the pioneering hip hop group Run-DMC formed in Hollis, Queens, but Darryl “DMC” McDaniels insists, “I remember everything like it was yesterday.”

He appeared at Deadline’s Contenders Television: Documentary & Unscripted virtual event to discuss the Peacock docuseries Kings from Queens: The Run DMC Story, which chronicles the group’s incredible achievements and influence. Along with McDaniels, Run-DMC was comprised of Joseph “Run” Simmons and the late Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell.

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“We’re going back to 1980,” producer/EP William H. Masterson III said of the series, “when really hip hop was relatively small, and taking the viewer on a ride with these three young men from Queens that came together and really changed a lot — changed pop, changed fashion, changed music, changed race relations between white people and Black people.”

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The story is told in three parts but easily could have gone longer, Masterson said. “We had talked about doing even four parts, and candidly we probably could have done five,” he noted. “We had about a hundred hours of interviews across 16 different subjects. We did about 15 hours of verité [footage]. So, we had enough — it was more of like what were the most important things that we wanted to share and that the guys wanted to share because it just had never been done.”

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Jamaican native Kirk Fraser directed the series.

“When my family migrated to the States, Run-DMC was the first group that introduced me to hip hop,” Fraser explained. He described how discussions with McDaniels and Simmons, who serve as executive producers, helped identify an ideal way to structure the series: “Let’s find a way of making these records and making each song the main throughway through the story and introducing aspects of things that occurred while you were making a record, what you were going through, things like that that actually motivated not just the music, but also how you played a very important role in pushing the culture forward.”

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Of all of Run-DMC’s hits, none has been bigger than “Walk This Way,” their groundbreaking collaboration with Aerosmith and Steven Tyler. It has become a classic, but not everyone embraced it back in the mid-1980s.

“It caused backlash in the recording industry because until Steven Tyler took that mic stand and knocked down the wall in the video, there was barriers and divisions everywhere,” McDaniels said. “Everything was segregated. … But then when [the collaboration] came together, it was a game changer. It was a world changer.”

DMC said it’s high time to revisit the collaboration’s implicit message.

“The beauty of exploring this now is because we’re at such a divisive time in our country, in our world, in this present age,” he noted. “So, hopefully people watching this doc … will go, ‘Yo, that’s right!’”

Check out the panel video above.

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