Darryl "DMC" McDaniels is rap royalty. As a member of Run-DMC, he has traveled the world and rocked stages across the globe. During the last several years DMC has been teaching kids in the Garden of Dreams Talent Show what it takes to be a real master of ceremonies. We chopped it up with the legend and we talked Knicks, Rangers, his favorite Garden moments, and his role with the Garden of Dreams, among other things. We also learned that he's a big-time hockey fan. Yes, hockey. Check the interview below.
What are you going to be doing with the Garden of Dreams?
I’ve been working with Garden of Dreams, a non-profit charity that works with all areas of Madison Square Garden to make dreams come true for kids facing obstacles, for three years now. Each year they host a Talent Show, I’ll attend rehearsals and serve as a mentor to give the kids pointers. The kids sing, dance, rap, and play instruments. I just basically tell them: “You know what you’ve been doing in your basement and what you’ve been doing at practice and what you’ve been doing at rehearsal? You’ve gotta transform that performance to the stage.” And you know they get a little intimidated because you’ve got hundreds of people looking at you and I just basically make them feel comfortable and tell them nobody does what you do better than you. And they look at me like, “Oh yeah, I’ve never thought of it like that.”
So, you’re basically teaching them how to rock the crowd?
Exactly. Exactly. Because they’ve got the skills, they’ve got the talent but how will they transform that to the stage, to rock the crowd, to rock the audience?
These kids are really good musicians.
It’s going to be at Radio City, right?
Yes. Yes. They hold it there every year. This year it’s on April 16—its free and open to the public.
Okay. So let’s talk about some of your favorite Garden moments.
Well, favorite Garden moment for me probably was—well, besides Run-DMC playing the Garden [Laughs] back in ’86 with Raising Hell, that was just sick—my favorite Garden moment probably was…and I didn’t get to see on TV, because I was traveling, was Larry Johnson’s four-point play. I had to experience it on the radio. It was crazy.
I remember where I was when I saw that play.
I think we were driving in a car and everybody in the car went ballistic. So I know what happened to the people that were there, you know what I’m saying? Imagine the people that were at the Garden.
What was your favorite moment that you witnessed live at the Garden?
My favorite moment that I witnessed live was when Carmelo beat the Bulls last year.
That was crazy.
That was crazy!
He was pulling up from half court.
Yeah, and it was like the speed that he…it’s just incredible to see him work. Like I never seen him in person until that night. That was the most phenomenal shooting exhibition that I’ve personally ever seen. You know what I’m saying? It was amazing.
I hear you’re a big Rangers fan.
Yeah, a huge Rangers fan. I got involved with hockey probably three years ago because my son is a big hockey fan.
And I think what really turned me out is actually going to the games.
Yeah, the games are intense.
When you go to the game you sit there and try to understand the game. Once you understand what’s going on you see that…you know, put it like this: It used to be football, basketball, baseball, hockey. But now it’s football, hockey, basketball, baseball.
You like hockey more than basketball?
Yeah I do. I do. I’d rather sit at a hockey game than sit at a basketball game.
I understand that. It’s better to watch hockey live than it is to watch it on TV.
You gotta skate, defend, hit people, shoot. You gotta do so much. Plus it’s a little ass puck! You gotta shoot the puck in the net, through people. The skill, coordination, it’s amazing. It’s kind of like golf.
Two years ago I went to play golf at this celebrity thing and the first day of golf I was loving it. The second day was like, “I’m leaving, I’m never coming back! Take these,” (imitating a second person) “no D don’t leave, just stay put…” “No! I’m going home.” And I actually went home. Once you understand what they’re trying to do it becomes something that excites you. I can see the strategy and skill needed, that’s what hockey did to me. I love going live, but I really, really get what’s going on and when I watch it on TV, I can sit there and watch hockey.
So you understand all the rules and all that stuff like icing and offsides?
Right. And the defensive dudes that are put on a team just to fight. [Laughs] I love that. They get drafted to fight. You ain’t gotta score, you ain’t gotta defend, we’re just gonna put you out there when we need you to start a fight. I just love all the elements of it.
They sub on the fly too.
Yep, just to come out there and throw blows. Plus, what I think is exciting about hockey at the Garden and even basketball at the Garden is the Garden.
You know, for what it’s worth, there’s the Brooklyn Nets arena. I’ve been there and it’s fine and everything but New York is the Garden, let’s get that straight. MSG is the Mecca, the Temple, the Sacred Holy place. We respect what’s going on in Brooklyn but it’s the Garden. MSG represents the N-Y-C.
Boxing, yeah I forgot boxing. All the great matches and stuff like that. Once I was able to start going to Knicks and Rangers games, I started appreciating what the Garden means and what New York sports is.
What do you think about the Knicks right now?
That’s a great question. They were playing so well in the beginning of the season. They were moving the ball, they were defending. Felton came and brought us balance as well as Chandler defensively. I think what happened with them is that they had too many pieces so they couldn’t work out a consistent flow. And that’s just from me being a fan, you know what I’m saying? Because they have all the elements. I think that we shouldn’t use Wallace and all our old dudes as it gets closer to the playoffs because the older dudes could just jump for a rebound and get hurt [Laughs].
Who are you scared of in the playoffs?
Heat and Pacers.
Why the Pacers?
What’s scary about them is their defense. I’ve noticed that when they play, the final score is usually a low one like 82-75. And the games they lose aren’t high scoring either. I don’t like that. If they keep the consistency with their scoring, to me, the East is Heat, Pacers, Knicks.
OK. Let’s end this with a few words on the Garden of Dreams.
All we try to do with the Garden of Dreams is give opportunity to these kids, to give them hope. We're not trying to say a prayer for them. We're trying to get them where they're supposed to be.