Darryl McDaniels walked outside of the swanky Capitale nightclub in Manhattan last week, flipped his phone closed, and announced to a handful of reporters that he had come to Hillary Clinton’s fund-raising bash—featuring Bill Clinton and Christina Aguilera—in order “to experience something I can talk to my grandkids about."
For Mr. McDaniels, known to millions as D.M.C.—as in Run-D.M.C., the immortal, pioneering rap group that he co-founded—that’s saying something. The group smashed Billboard records with songs like “Walk This Way,” “Raising Hell” and “My Adidas.”
Now in his early 40’s, Mr. McDaniels had just experienced his first political fund-raiser, he said. And guiding him through this new terrain is the same hip-hop ethos that guided his career.
He said that although he thought Mrs. Clinton’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama, “could fix everything,” he was thinking about backing Mrs. Clinton “because it’s gangsta. I ain’t doing what everybody else is doing.”
Asked to expand on his point, Mr. McDaniels said, “You know what I’m saying. I didn’t say ‘Barack would do a better job’ because I have faith in Hillary. I just [think] Barack would have nobody to worry about. You know what I’m saying? He’s like—he’s like Run-D.M.C. wearing Adidas into a Reebok party. Or a Nike party. People got to respect that. Because for me, it’s not about—for me, everything that I do, it’s not about black, white, Democrat, Republican. Everything I do is about all of us. Because we all hip-hop.”
So what about Barack Obama?
“You know what I like about Barack Obama? He is probably the best man for the job because he don’t really got to worry about people, taking people’s sides. You know what I’m saying? Like Hillary has people she dealt with for years and sometimes she might have to make a decision and tell these people, ‘F you, I got to do this,’ and they’re going to get mad at her. But see, with Barack right now, he can look at the whole landscape.
“See, a real leader, if you think of a problem to fix, and don’t do nothing about it, that’s a sin. But Barack seems like he’s going to come in and say, ‘Oh, hold up. Let me take care of that; let me take care of that; let me take care of that.’ The problem with politicians, they make all these promises up at the podium when you vote for ’em, but when they get there, they’ll have an excuse for why.”
Would Mr. Obama do a better job?
“I didn’t say that. I said he would come and fix everything. You understand what I’m saying. That’s what I say. Hillary, she can fix everything too. But it’s a little easier for Barack because he hasn’t been around as much. He’s been in the Senate and doing those things.”
“On a political, on a Hollywood, political platform, he’s a new player in town. He’s like Run-D.M.C. to the music industry to break into MTV, if I can put it like that.”