Reverend Run says goodbye DMC, hello MTV

Andrew Hampp

Log on to any Tuesday or Friday at 7 p.m. or Sunday at 12 p.m. for online church services and you may see a familiar yet unexpected face.

Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons, better known for putting the “Run” in Run-DMC, has been helping Bishop E. Bernard Jordan with his live, streaming cyber-church services for the last three years, reading scriptures and offering words of advice to his congregation.

Although Run is still rapping – his first-ever solo album, Distortion, drops this Tuesday – just don’t expect to see his music persona in church.

“(People) come if they wanna get blessed,” he said. “But they don’t come expecting me to kick a rhyme.”

In addition to rapping and preaching, Run is also starring in his very own MTV reality show, “Run’s House,” premiering tonight at 10:30 on “The 10 Spot.” Although the program does indeed focus on a musician’s home and family life, a la “The Osbournes” and “Newlyweds,” Run said “Run’s House” will be significantly different from the rest.

And, unlike his heavily edited counterparts, the rapper insisted he has full creative control of his show.

“I’m the one that the cameras are on. It’s all me,” he said. “I got all the control. If I don’t eat meat, then I’m not a meat-eater on the show. If I don’t use profanity, then it’s not gonna be curse words.”

The newly-minted reality star said he recently saw a shot of himself on the show’s dailies that he didn’t like, and the producers agreed to not use it.

“Nobody wants to make a bad show, so MTV’s happy to work with me,” he said.

No one worked with Run, however, for Distortion, a solo album in the truest sense of the term.

“There’s no collaborations at all. No big-name producers. Just very Run,” he said. “I’m the producer, it’s just me. A ‘solo’ album.”

Although his former bandmates, DMC and the late Jam Master Jay, do not appear on the disc, that doesn’t mean the album won’t bear a signature Run-DMC sound.

“It’s very Run-DMC-ish,” Run said. “There’s nothing un-Run about it. It feels like (1988’s) Tougher Than Leather, and that was done purposely. That’s what I know how to do, and God led me to understand that you do what you do and you do it well.”

Evidence of the “very Run-DMC-ish” sound can be found on Distortion‘s first single, “Mind on the Road,” a hard-rocking foot-stomper that samples Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” for its beat and guitar riff. Elsewhere, Run uses “Sweet Home Alabama” as the driving rhythm and melody for “Home Sweet Home,” a tribute to Jam Master Jay.

Still packing a punch while clocking in at a short 25 minutes, Distortion naturally has people using the “c” word in conversation. And that’s OK with Run.

“People are gonna say the word ‘comeback.’ It’s a deep word,” he said. “(They’ll say), ‘Here he is again, we didn’t see him so he’s come back.’ I’ll have to name it what it is. Here I am again, presenting something to the world. If it’s a comeback meaning doing well and being perceived like before, then yes, it’s a comeback, and a comeback with more force than before.”

Distortion is also the first release on RSMG, a new record label he cofounded with his brother Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records.

With so many new projects, it’s got to be pretty exciting to be Reverend Run right now, and the rapper had one person to thank.

“My big prayer is that this will be as well-received as my earlier stuff and I think it will be,” he said. “God willing, everything will work out perfectly.”

Contact features editor Andrew Hampp at [email protected].