5 Questions with Rev Run
Marrying positivity and the cool factor
AT&T Inspired Mobility spokesman Rev Run has more than 35 years in the entertainment business. Ask him how he pulled that off, and he’ll tell you the key is authenticity—and ownership. The Bridge recently sat down with the hip-hop legend to pick up more pearls of wisdom from one the most respected men in the game.
Why is it important that people of color collaborate around culture and community?
When we come together and celebrate our culture, it's an amazing thing.
Who do you think is making noise in the music business right now?
I'm listening to the new Jay-Z album. The way he's talking about our culture and being together … it's just an amazing album. He has a major influence on people, and rap music has taken a turn. When you see somebody like Jay-Z, who has that much influence over people's minds, coming with something positive …
Is it possible for a rapper to have a positive message and still be considered cool?
That's why “Run's House” did so well. It was Run from Run DMC who's now a reverend. You see that cool culture on me but yet hear me bringing a positive message.
Why is it important to maintain your own identity in the entertainment business?
Oh, the most important thing you can do is keep your own identity. I mean if you think about it when I first introduced myself as Rev Run, there was gangsta rap was going on. It just seemed like the obvious thing to do was become a gangster rapper but, no, I was going into the church and becoming the Rev. People respected that.
What do you know to be true about the music business?
Do your best to control all of your publishing. Do your best to own your masters. Do your best to be able to keep what you wrote for you and control it. When you're speaking to your lawyer if you're getting a record deal or something, ask, "I want to own my master. How do I own it?" I think the best thing you can do is try to have ownership of what's yours.
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*Responses edited for clarity and length.