Following the slaying of turntable whiz Jam Master Jay, the two surviving members have announced they will no longer record or tour under the moniker that made them famous.
"As a tribute to the positive legacy of Jam Master Jay, we started together and we want the Run-D.M.C. legacy to always reflect the three of us together," said the Reverend Joseph "Run" Simmons at a Wednesday press conference at New York's Rihga Royal Hotel in Manhattan.
Simmons, joined by Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, says the group will not hit the road in December with Aerosmith and Kid Rock as originally planned.
"Nobody wants to see Run and D.M.C. without Jay. Jay was definitely one-third of the group, and a lot of people I was seeing on television was wondering, 'Is Jay...was he a significant member of the group?' He was," said Simmons.
Jay, whose real name Jason Mizell, provided the beats and tracks over which Simmons and McDaniels rapped. The 37-year-old mixmaster was gunned down inexplicably inside his Jamaica, Queens, recording studio on October 30. The assailant remains at large.
Simmons concluded by saying, "Run-D.M.C. is officially retired. I can't get out in front of my fans with a new deejay. Some rock bands can replace the drummer. People say that to me: 'Are you the original three members?' I say, 'I don't know any other way but to be the original three members.' And that's all I can say--is that we're retired. Does anybody have a job out there?"
The announcement put an end to a group that changed the face of pop culture. Founded in Hollis, Queens, in 1982, the trio made rap mainstream, registering hip-hop's first gold record, first platinum album and first Top 10 single. They costarred in the seminal rap movie Krush Groove. They were the only rap act invited to play Live Aid and the first to land on the cover of Rolling Stone. And they were also the first rappers to make MTV, thanks to the megaselling Aerosmith revamp, "Walk This Way."
Aside from "Walk This Way," Run-D.M.C.'s signature tracks included "You Be Illin,' " "It's Tricky," "My Adidas," "King of Rock" and "Sucker M.C.'s," all of which were on the group's Greatest Hits album released two months ago. Their final studio album was 2001's Crown Royal.
Simmons and McDaniels declared their demise a day after Mizell's funeral. The bombshell came during a press conference announcing the formation of a coalition to provide financial assistance to Jay's family.
Attending the conference was a who's-who of hip-hop heavyweights, including Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Busta Rhymes, Doug E. Fresh, Foxy Brown, Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa, Adam Horowitz of the Beastie Boys, and former Yo MTV Raps personalities Ed Lover and Dr. Dre.
The coalition's goal is to raise money to help Jay's widow, Terri Corley-Mizell, pay off the mortgage on the couple's home and provide for the future of their three children, as well as post a $50,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Jay's killer.
So far, the group has collected funds from LL Cool J (who donated $50,000) and Busta Rhymes ($30,000) along with Eminem, Method Man, Ludacris, Aerosmith, Kid Rock, BET, Interscope Records, Radio One and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
With Jay's widow Terri behind him, Run's brother, Def Jam mastermind Russell Simmons, reiterated that police have been very supportive of the family during their investigation.
"The police department is not at fault because a lot of people are silent in the community," Russell Simmons said. "We just need the community to stand up."
He also hailed Run-D.M.C. as the "epitome of survival rap" and a group that eschewed gangsta posturing.
Chuck D, meanwhile, called for the hip-hop community to come together as "one big family."
"When you go out there and write your lyrics about a family...instill some love in their hearts," he said. "Let's get some love back into this stuff for the memory of Jam Master Jay...and use your pen as a blessing."
New-schooler Foxy Brown remembered Jay and Run-D.M.C. as inspirational.
"Jam Master Jay helped set the tone for the younger generation," she said. "I speak for the new generation of hip-hop artists when I say that we lost a great mentor."