Hip hop legends RUN-DMC headlined our #30yearsVodafone gig last weekend, but what do they think about how mobile and music intersect? Read on to find out...
Did you catch our exclusive #30yearsVodafone gig? UK star Raleigh Ritchie tore up the stage with hip hop royalty RUN-DMC, who are also celebrating their 30th year in business this year. The gig was absolutely incredible, and you can catch the whole thing again right now by downloading the Vodafone Power To app on your mobile.
But before you do that, it’s time to school up on your RUN-DMC knowledge. We managed to grab some time with the rap renegades before the gig to find out how they think the world of mobile tech has changed the music industry, so read on for some first-hand insight into the minds of one of music’s most influential groups…
‘30 and 30: RUN-DMC and Vodafone’
RUN-DMC, better known as Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and the late Jam Master Jay, broke onto the music scene in the mid 80s with the massive success of their first, self-titled album. It was the first ever hip hop album to go Gold, while their King of Rock record was the first to go Platinum, marking the group as among the key instigators of the ‘new school’ of hip hop that took the world by storm in the late 80s and early 90s.
RUN-DMC was the only hip hop act to perform at Live Aid in 1985, and the video for their track ‘Rock Box’ was the first ever rap video ever shown on MTV. They’ve been in the game for 30 years and have a huge string of hits under their belts, but their latest and greatest exploit? Flying into London to headline our #30yearsVodafone gig.
So how did it feel to know that thousands of fans could live stream the gig straight to their phones over 4G?
“It’s incredible,” said RUN when we grabbed a few minutes with the group before the show. “To be able to just pull up your phone and watch somebody perform is big. It means our fans will be there, and the fans are everything – they’re the reason for the season. You make the music, they jump up and down; you’re happy, they’re happy. It’s the perfect collaboration. 30 and 30: RUN-DMC and Vodafone.”
“It makes me nervous,” DMC added jokingly. “That’s too many people to be watching! But it’s good that we can reach out and touch everybody, and be seen by everybody, and that everybody can experience some real hip hop.”
‘The geeks run the world’
Clearly, a lot has changed in the three decades that RUN-DMC have been commanding audiences around the world. But what do they make of the way that tech and music have collided since the advent of the smartphone?
“The internet has been the biggest change in music in the last 30 years,” says RUN. “Everybody can put out a record now. You wake up, record a song in the afternoon and put it out that night. Push a button and you’re on Instagram; you’re on YouTube; you’re on Twitter… Your record’s out.”
Is that ease of access – a sentiment echoed by both Raleigh Ritchie and Charlie Sloth – a good thing? RUN definitely thinks so:
“It’s fantastic,” he says. “It’s unbelievable and groundbreaking. It’s the easiest thing in the world to discover music now, and you’ve got new music every day. If your favourite artist wants to put out a record – if Drake wants to put out a record – he could do it tomorrow. And the record companies hate and love that. It means that they have to chase the artists instead of artists chasing the record companies now. They find their artists online, also I think word of mouth comes from the internet now.”
“And artists speak to fans now through their Instagram and Twitter pages,” he explains. “If you look at Nicki Minaj’s page right now you’ll see all type of new stuff. It’s incredible.”
“With technology and entertainment, the geeks run the world,” adds DMC. “I was a nerdy kid who used to sit in the back of the class, so I think being a geek is the greatest thing in the world because we wouldn’t have no industry if it weren’t for the geeks. And RUN-DMC are king of the geeks!”
Want to see the king of the geeks in action? You can relive the magic of the #30yearsVodafone gig right now on desktop on the Vodafone UK YouTube channel, or by downloading the Vodafone Power To app on iOS or Android.