Rev Run Plays 'Not My Job' Joseph Simmons -- best known as Rev Run, of the legendary hip hop group Run-DMC -- tries his hand at the NPR news quiz. He answers three questions about race walking.
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Rev Run Plays 'Not My Job'

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Rev Run Plays 'Not My Job'

Rev Run Plays 'Not My Job'

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PETER SAGAL, Host:

All the rap acts these days owe something to Run-DMC, the mega hip-hop trio from the '80s. These days, Run has become Reverend Run, an ordained minister with his own reality show on MTV and a parenting book, called "Take Back Your Family."

CARL KASELL, Host:

Reverend Run joined Korva Coleman filling in for me, and panelist Roxanne Roberts, Mo Rocca and Adam Felber.

SAGAL: So Run-DMC, for those who may not be familiar with your work, you were not the first rap group, but the first superstar rap group. The first rap group that was on the cover of Rolling Stone, the first to sell a lot of records, is that about right?

SAGAL: Yup, yup. We had a major crossover hit with Aerosmith. It was a remake of "Walk This Way."

SAGAL: Right. Right, right. And when you guys started out, did you know where you were headed? Did you have any idea how big hip-hop - and you guys, specifically - could get?

SAGAL: No, we - our thoughts were, let's get it on the - WBLS was our radio station, so we called in. We had a record, and we act like we was somebody else - as if they knew who we was in the first place.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And we're like, Jam Master J's name was Jason, and he said: Oh, it's Jim. Can you play that new record by Run-DMC, called "It's Like That"?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And we heard that, and then they played the record. And we went running, screaming down the block to our parents: Our record's on the radio! And that was, you know, a local radio station. And next thing we know, we were traveling to North Carolina and we just started moving all around. And it just got bigger and bigger, and it just kept, you know, it got bigger than us, in our thoughts.

SAGAL: Now, did you have to put up with like, people - I don't know if you care what people - saying, well, what kind of musical group are they? They're not even singing.

SAGAL: Exactly. We, it was really bad. That's a good question. We brought turntables, and the promoters would say, where's your band? And we used to say, in the bag. And there would be two turntables and a mixer. And then once Jam Master J finished performing on the turntables, they understood that we was some bad brothers from Hollis, Queens.

SAGAL: There you go.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: I want to get to what you're doing now, but what you are doing now is so different from those days. I mean, did you ever, back in those days, back in the '80s, did you ever turn to your partner and say, yeah, this is great, you know, this vast success, international touring, money. But one of these days, I'm going to write a parenting book. Did you...

SAGAL: No, I didn't think that. But L.L. Cool J said something to me one day. I used to come out and scream to the audience: This is my house. But I used a word that I don't want to use now...

SAGAL: Yeah, of course, because...

SAGAL: And L.L. said to me one day: I can imagine you saying, this is my church. And he said, you remind me of a preacher standing up there at the Madison Square Garden in front of all these people. And I just kind of looked at him and smiled. And here it is years later, I'm the Rev. Run. So I've always been into touching people in an inspiring way. And that's what I'm doing now with this book, and with the television show. I believe I'm where I'm supposed to be.

SAGAL: Now, let's talk about the television show. The television show is a reality show about you, your wife and your kids. You live in a big house in New Jersey. And it's vaguely like the shows we've seen before about other families - "The Osbournes," whatever you want to pick. But the difference is, everybody in your family is really nice, has their act together, and you all get along.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which is something.

SAGAL: Well, people like that, you know. We had to shove that down MTV's throat. They were like, you mean to tell me that you are a rapper, become a reverend, with a normal family, who sits in the tub and tweets out words to people - and you expect people to like it? And I looked at them and I said, yeah.

M: Wait, wait, back up for a second. I want to hear - you tweet from the bathtub?

SAGAL: Yeah, I send out words of wisdom every morning. That's what I used to do so I said, let's show people what I do. So we had to - the only difference is, we had to put some Mr. Bubble there so you didn't see everything.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: So - OK, so you changed it a little bit for TV. Because that was my question, I wanted to see how real it was. So in reality, you would not be using the bubble bath. You'd be with your BlackBerry in the bathtub, sending out words of wisdom.

SAGAL: Yeah, I send them out to my friends. Early on, it was about, you know, like 50 friends and a couple of people in the music industry. And now, it's hundreds of thousands of people that I send words of wisdom out to every morning. Anybody that wants to join, you can join, too, and get the words from the tub.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: So, you ever drop...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: You ever drop your phone in the tub?

SAGAL: No, but recently, I had a soap in one hand, and the BlackBerry in the other and I stuck my hand, the wrong hand, in the tub and realized...

SAGAL: Oh, no.

SAGAL: ...that the soap was up and the BlackBerry is down.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, Rev. Run, we are delighted to have you with us, and we have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KORVA COLEMAN: "Walk-D.M.C."

SAGAL: So you're Rev. Run, you founded Run-DMC, so naturally we wondered what might you know about walking. Specifically, race walking, the comic relief of international...

SAGAL: Race walking?

SAGAL: Race walking. This is an athletic event where athletes race against each other. But they're not allowed to run; they can only walk as fast as they can. We're going to ask you three questions about race walking. Get two right, you'll win a prize for one of our listeners: Carl Kasell's voice on their home answering machine. Korva, who is Rev. Run playing for?

COLEMAN: He's playing for Amber Barger of Sacramento, California.

SAGAL: Are you ready to play?

SAGAL: OK.

SAGAL: Here we go, first question.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Race walking has its own lingo, of course. You might hear which of these phrases around a race walking meet: A, a walker with style but not speed is called a race flaunter; B, a particularly good walker, called a super stroller; or C, the second-place finisher is called, of course, the walker-up.

SAGAL: I guess B.

SAGAL: You are going to go B, the super stroller, that guy's a super stroller. No, I am afraid it was C, it was walker-up.

M: Oh, no.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You see, because they're not allowed to run.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I had a feeling that was it, but I just didn't want to, you know, I didn't want to win, I guess.

SAGAL: I guess so.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Examine your own self-destructive nature. But that's OK, you still have two more chances; you can still win this. The next question: Race walking has played an important part in pop culture, as in which of these: A, Cary Grant's last movie, "Walk Don't Run," in which he plays Cupid to an American race walker and his young female landlord; B, the original video for Bob Dylan's "Blowing in the Wind" featured world record-holding race walker Anatoly Vedyakov, showing how many roads a man must walk down; or C, Maurice Ravel said the stately march toward a climax in his famous piece "Bolero" was inspired by watching a race walk.

SAGAL: C.

SAGAL: You are going to go for C, that the "Bolero" - it was inspired by a race walk?

SAGAL: Yeah.

SAGAL: You think?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah, man.

SAGAL: No, it was actually, it was A, Cary Grant's last movie was called "Walk Don't Run."

SAGAL: I figured that.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

M: He didn't want to flaunt.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, he didn't want to flaunt. Here's the last question. Now, one of the things about race walking is - well, why don't these guys just start running? It would be faster. Thanks to an experiment carried out by an investigative TV show, we know a race walker will in fact run if A, he thinks nobody is watching...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: B, the running surface is heated to 200 degrees.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Or C, he is attacked by sword-wielding samurai.

SAGAL: I like A already, straight off the top.

SAGAL: You think, he thinks, nobody - you think if you take a race walker, you say oh, nobody's watching you just race walk we'll go...

M: Oh, no.

SAGAL: You think...

SAGAL: Well, listen, if it's wrong, I'm telling you, it sounded right to me.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You're going to choose, a race walker. That may well be true, we don't know because we're always watching them. What was proved on TV is that a race walker will start running if he's attacked by samurai.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: This was done on a Japanese TV show, of course, where they got an actual world champion race walker; they didn't tell him what was happening. They put him on a track. They said, we just want to see your technique. And he was race walking around, and they released six guys with samurai swords...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: ...to chase him. And you'd better believe, he started running.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And we will post a link to this amazing video on our website.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Korva, how did Rev. Run do?

COLEMAN: Well, I can tell you the Rev. Run is a very blessed man, Peter, but he...

SAGAL: Thank you very much, but I lost badly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

COLEMAN: You lost. You lost them all, Rev.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Oh, well.

COLEMAN: You got none right.

SAGAL: Rev. Run is the star of "Run's House" at MTV. He's co-written the new book "Take Back Your Family" with his wife, Justine. He will, of course, always be the Run in Run-DMC. Rev. Run, thank you so much for joining us here on WAIT WAIT. We're so glad to have you.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you, guys.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

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