McDaniels opened up about his alcoholism, depression and suicidal thoughts amid vocal spasms during his time in Run-DMC on Will Smith's podcast 'Class of '88'
On the second episode of Will Smith's new Wondery and Audible podcast Class of '88 released on Friday, the Run-DMC member, 59, revealed how he struggled with alcoholism and depression after the band began making massive changes to their look and sound.
"Jay got me wearing a green, yellow, purple and green suit doing the running man. There's nothing wrong with Jay bringing New Jack Swing into Run-DMC. It just wasn't for me, but I did it anyway, not realizing it was going to affect me mentally later," McDaniels recalled of his bandmate Jam Master Jay on the podcast.
The "It's Tricky" performer was uncomfortable with the changes, and he fell into a deep depression where drinking was his crutch.
"I was drinking a case of Olde English a day — not one or two 40s — a case. I was so alcoholic, I put a freezer in my monster truck so I didn't have to stop at the grocery store. This is during the day, Will," he told Smith, 55, on the podcast. "From 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Now, we're going out at night and it's Courvoisier and Hennessy and all of that. So I'm doing all of that all through the night. So I'm just drinking, drinking, drinking...."
While Run-DMC continued on even past their time dominating the hip-hop scene, McDaniels was eventually unable to rap because he began having vocal spasms.
"I go to Mariah Carey's throat doctors, Lenny Kravitz's, but they look at me and go, 'Son, there's nothing physically wrong with you.' Somebody tells me to go get a Botox shot directly into the vocal chords to stop the spasms. The f---ing needle was this long. They put this thing down in my throat and as they started, I faint. I wake up, my wife's over there crying because she thought I died. Whatever, it didn't work," McDaniels recalled of his experience trying to fix his vocal chords.
McDaniels was losing the ability to produce sound from his voice.
"Your voice is not just how you sound, it's who you are," he said, to which the King Richard actor replied: "That had to be terrifying though, that you make your living with your voice."
The musician began having suicidal thoughts.
"After nothing worked, now I'm thinking of killing myself. Because I'm thinking, I can't do the thing that I was put here to do. So I don't want to disappoint Run and Jay, I don't want to go tell them I can't do this no more, so let me just kill myself. My life ended, so I thought, when the Run-DMC thing quieted down and I lost myself. So now, I'm really gonna kill myself. I have to kill myself," he recalled of that time in his life.
Class of '88 debuted on Friday and the show features conversations between Smith and his peers in the late ’80s hip-hop world, including his collaborator Jeff, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Rakim and Chuck D.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
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