Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels
One third of the first rap group to gain mainstream superstardom, Daryl "DMC" McDaniels was a founding member of Run-D. M.C., which burst out of New York City in the early 1980s with an aggressive, stripped-down sound that virtually laid the blueprint for modern hip-hop. With Joseph "Run" Simmons and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, McDaniels elevated rap from the club scene to the pop charts on the strength of such forceful, boast-heavy tracks as "It's Like That," "King of Rock," "My Adidas" and their breakout hit, "Walk This Way," a collaboration with Aerosmith that made them the first rap act to reach the heights of the R&B and pop charts. Personal problems and changing musical tastes undermined Run-D.M.C.'s popularity in the early 1990s, during which McDaniels delved deeply into his own past to discover his adoption at an early age. His quest for self-discovery informed much of his subsequent creative and philanthropic efforts while he continue to pursue a music career as both a solo artist and as part of Run-D.M.C. A pioneer in rap music for over three decades, Daryl "DMC" McDaniels was a key figure in the genre's rise from underground sensation to part of mainstream popular culture.