Joseph Simmons, better known as Reverend Run, is a rapper and disc jockey best known for being a part of the legendary and influential East Coast hip-hop group, Run-DMC. Students of hip-hop who have not listened to their work but are looking to understand the early beginnings of the genre are doing both themselves and those who they might want to pass down information to a huge dishonesty. Join us as we take a look at how Simmons himself began his journey.
Joseph Simmons’ Biography
Simmons was born Joseph Ward Simmons, the youngest of three boys to Evelyn and Daniel Simmons, on the 14th of November 1964 in the Queens Borough of New York. From a very young age, Simmons was influenced by the growing hip-hop music genre in New York which his older brothers, Danny and Russell, were in some way or another also influenced by.
At around the age of 14, Simmons began working as a disc jockey for one of hip hop’s early pioneers, Kurtis Blow, who his brother Russell was managing. His skills on the turntable earned him the nickname DJ Run because he was known for cutting between two turntables. Simmons soon began engaging Blow in rap battles before he went on to form the hip-hop group called The Force. The Force did not exist for long as Joseph Simmons joined forces with his high school friend, Darryl McDaniels (aka DMC) to form Run-DMC. The duo was later joined by another high school friend of theirs, Jason William Mizell (aka Jam Master Jay).
Run-DMC went on to sign a record deal with Profile Records and released their first single titled “It’s like that/Sucker MCs” in 1983. The song’s success propelled the group to release their self-titled debut album a year later which featured hit songs like “Rock Box”, “Hard Times”, and “Jam-Master Jay”. In 1985, Simmons and his crew released King of Rock to critical acclaim. A year later, they put out the platinum-selling Rick Rubin produced Raising Hell album which cemented their legacy as the kick starters of the golden age of hip-hop as they were one of the first artists from the genre to receive a Grammy Award nomination.
The group went on to release four more albums; Tougher than Leather (1988), Back From Hell (1990), Down with the King (1993), and Crown Royal (2001) before Jam Master Jay was killed in his studio in New York in 2002. His death hit Simmons hard and he decided to leave music as he was ordained a Pentecostal minister under the name Reverend Run. In 2005, however, Simmons returned to the music scene to release his first and only solo album titled Distortion. During this time, he also began appearing on the reality show Run’s House which featured him and his family.
According to the Celebrity Net Worth site, Joseph Simmons has a net worth estimated to be around $70 million. The former Run-DMC group member was able to amass such a huge net worth thanks to his pioneering hip-hop music career as well as through other business ventures. He also notably once served as President of the athletics and footwear division of Phat Farm, an apparel company owned by his brother, during its most successful years.
Family – Wife, Children
Joseph Simmons is currently on his second marriage. The practicing minister was first married to Valerie Vaughn in 1983. The couple had three children; Vanessa, Angela, and Joseph Jr. aka Jojo, before their marriage ended in 1992. Ms. Vaughn filed for divorce from her husband after he admitted to cheating on her with a 22-year-old woman from Cleveland, Ohio who had accused him of raping her after a show in 1989. Simmons had maintained his innocence in the matter but he later admitted to consensually sleeping with the woman in question. He was later exonerated him of any wrongdoing and the case was thrown out for lack of evidence but it, however, cost him his marriage.
Two years after his first marriage ended, on the 25th of June, 1994, Simmons exchanged vows with Justin Jones. Together, the couple welcomed three more children; Daniel III aka Diggy, Russell II aka Russy, and Victoria Anne who died shortly after birth. The loss prompted the couple to adopt a baby girl they named Miley Justine Simmons.