Darryl "DMC" McDaniels Says Run-D.M.C. Drove Him to the Brink of Death

At the height of Run-D.M.C.'s fame, DMC was drinking an entire case of malt liquor once a day.
Publish date:

In his new memoir Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. opens up about depression, suicide and a drinking habit that almost cost him his life.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee recently sat down with PEOPLE to speak about the book. McDaniels, now 52, revealed to the magazine that his out-of-control drinking and depression was driven by a need to succeed each time Run-D.M.C. released material and a lack of respect from his bandmates:

As Run-DMC's fame grew, so did McDaniels' struggles. Though he'd written much of the trio's early tracks, he says Simmons and Mizell didn't respect his creative input shortly after they broke out. 

"When I look back, it all started when I was looking for my confidence," he says. "I didn't need alcohol when I was 12 years old, sitting in my bedroom writing just rhymes in my notebooks: it was fun; there was no pressure of, 'Man, I gotta write this rhyme. I hope it'll sell.' When you have expectations, that destroys." 

At one point DMC's drinking problem got so bad that he would down an entire case of malt liquor once a day. The drinking would continue for DMC until he finally found himself in the hospital, facing a choice to either live or die:  

"I was in the hospital for like a month and a half, with everything entered [through the] vein because I couldn't take anything orally," he says of his stay, where doctors told him: "'Miraculously, you don't have cirrhosis of the liver, but your pancreas is bruised and battered, but it's still functioning. You've got two choices: Drink and die, or not drink and live." 

DMC quit "cold turkey" following the six week hospital stay. As a member of one of the most legendary music acts of all-time, a group that helped to pioneer an entire genre, it's easy to imagine the amount of pressure that mounted on the shoulders of three young men from Queens, New York. Having met almost instantaneous success, the trio not only carried their own expectations but the expectations of a growing hip-hop culture with each release:

The hardships that followed for DMC, the aforementioned alcoholism and depression, the death of Jam Master Jay and a vocal condition that took away one of the most historic and important voices in hip-hop, helped to shape a must-read memoir for old and new school hip-hop fans alike. This is highly-recommended reading.  

By @brokencool, the king of rock in the T.Dot

Photo Credit: Instagram