Reverend Run Talks Run's House

The Rapper/Minister/Phat Farm Executive breaks down why his show works for the world.

Run-D.M.C. burst on the music scene in the 1980s and they had a big hand (if not the hand) in bringing rap into the mainstream. Joseph "DJ Run" Simmons was a founding member of this group (along with Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell), and he used to DJ for his brother, hip-hop legend Russell Simmons, before Run-D.M.C. broke big. As the years have passed, many things about the rap/hip-hop scene have changed but the respect and admiration for the members of Run-DMC has not.

This probably explains why after becoming an ordained minister and changing his moniker to Reverend Run, Simmons has seen great success with his reality TV show Run's House. Focusing on his family which includes wife Justine, daughter's Vanessa and Angela, as well as his son's Joseph, Daniel and Russell, Reverend Run spends a lot of time each show talking to his family without being preachy. Every episode has a message and on the eve of Run's House: The Complete Seasons, 1 and 2 DVD release, the Reverend graciously sat down with us to discuss the show and where it might be headed for Season 3.

Why do you think Run's House works as well as it does?

Reverend Run: Because when you're in your calling people sense it and the world responds. It's true. It's real. People love the truth. Whether it's me or Danny Bonaduce, you have success when you tell your truth. If you're lying people smell that. They say, "This guy is really who he says he is in his show." They feel my family, they feel me, they happen to like my world so it's successful.

I've watched Gene Simmons' reality show (Gene Simmons Family Jewels), and I found that you guys aren't just interesting but you're also very engaging. I thought if you thought that people like myself like these shows so much because we're so used to seeing you guys as performers?

Reverend Run: Right.

Where you always up for the idea of Run's House? Was that something MTV had to sell you on?

Reverend Run: I came up with it. Somebody asked me to do it and I was happy to do it. I had already thought this would be a good idea. My show is my ministry.

What about your family? Did they come on board pretty easily?

Reverend Run: It was very easy. Everybody in my house is a ham so it was fine. They wanted to do it. It seemed fun, you know? You're gonna be on television.

What for you is the most difficult part of doing Run's House?

Reverend Run: I'm an entertainer, man. A lot of times you get these people whether it's me or Gene Simmons or anybody like that, you're used to the spotlight. You love the spotlight. It's what you do. Also, you want to be able to be helpful. You want to be helpful to the universe and do what you're here for. When you are a plumber you love sinks.

You mention that you see this show as part of your ministry... there seems to be lessons with each episode. Was that the plan with the show? Or, did it just emanate out of the footage that was captured?

Reverend Run: There is no footage captured. It works like this, I run my house a certain way. MTV wanted to do a reality show with me. They saw what I was doing and we film what I do. My life is very structured so we film what's going on. What's going on is that I'm lecturing all the time. I lecture my wife, I lecture my kids, I just lecture and lecture. Just before you called I was doing it again. I'm obsessed with doing self help. My life is self help so I am always lecturing. They take it and then the show becomes whatever. Whatever it is, "Wow, today he's preaching to Angela about her graduation and how he's not spending so much money." That's the Graduation party.

This type of show seems like it could go on forever. Is that something you're thinking about? Being on the air for 5 or 10 years?

Reverend Run: Yeah, as long as I can be helpful to society. There's a lot of people enjoying my family and enjoying the teaching. I am Dr.Phil'ing it. I am Dr. Phil of MTV. I'm showing family health.

What can we expect from Season 3 of Run's House?

Reverend Run: Same thing basically, except the girls have moved out. Just me mentoring my family, loving my family.

You seem very real and very grounded. Do you have a life philosophy?

Reverend Run: I learn daily and I try and adapt to what's gonna work. I try and adapt to what God is helping me to adapt to and to live. I use those same tools and give them to other people.

Run's House: The Complete Seasons, 1 and 2 comes to DVD March 20 from Paramount Home Entertainment.