The old adage that you never know what someone is going through feels truer than ever today as Darryl McDaniels, better known as DMC of legendary rap pioneer trio Run DMC, revealed that at the height of the band’s success, his depressive thoughts almost led him to kill himself. In an interview with Boston radio’s Matty Blake and Nick Stevens, the hip-hop trailblazer shared some surprising insights into depression, suicide, and the need for therapy.
Relating his previous struggles to those of both Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, who both committed suicide this year, just a month apart, DMC stressed the importance of talking to someone about depressive thoughts. “I want these young people to not be afraid to speak up,” he declares in the 4-minute clip, “Because one hundred percent of the time, two things happen. The people that hear that do this: ‘Oh my god, me too,’ or ‘my daughter.[etc.]'”
He also shares his own story, saying, “I was gonna jump.” In 1993, just after Down With The King had resurrected Run DMC’s popularity, he says he “woke up the next morning and I didn’t want to live no more.” He says he became suicidal, alcoholic, and a “metaphysical, spiritual, and emotional wreck,” and that “If you don’t reveal how you feel, you never heal.” It rhymes because he’s one of the greatest rappers ever, in his words. He credits therapy for setting him back on the right path.
Equally important, he says, is for people to be understanding and accepting to their depressed friends, citing prior experiences being advised by his bandmates that he shouldn’t have been depressed due to their success. “I can’t tell you, ‘Don’t feel hungry! Don’t feel cold!'” He reiterates that “The things you hold in will destroy you” if you don’t express them, and finishes with a quick eight bars of a rhyme to drive the point home.