It may be a soda ad, but it’s a bittersweet moment for Run-DMC. The rap pioneers are featured in a new Dr. Pepper commercial that will also mark the last televised performance by the legendary rap trio, following the October 2002 murder of DJ Jason Mizell, also known as Jam Master Jay.
The 30-second soft-drink spot features LL Cool J and will debut Jan. 19 during both the NFL conference championship games and the Golden Globe Awards. The spots — which will premiere just days before what would have been Mizell’s 38th birthday — will end with a brief tribute to the DJ for eight weeks after its debut.
During a press conference in New York on Tuesday, surviving members Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels — dressed true to form in their signature black fedora hats, black leather coats, and black and white, unlaced, shell top Adidas — said the spot helped give them a lasting memory of their final time with Mizell.
“That was the last time that I remember me and Jay working so close together — it was fun,” Simmons said. “It almost seems to me like it was part of God’s plan, that he knew Jay wasn’t going to be here.
“Jay and I put together some specific scratches and worked really hard on it, and (the commercial) came out really good,” he added. “It’s like a record.”
Added McDaniels: “It looks good, it feels good, and as long as people smile when they see it, it’s going to serve its purpose.”
Dr. Pepper’s ad campaign — which features the slogan “Be You” — also features other spots with artists paying homage to influential musicians. Singer Anastacia pays tribute to Cyndi Lauper in one commercial, and another features Paulina Rubio honoring Celia Cruz.
The Run-DMC spot “shows Jay doing what he does best, and it’s what he loved to do,” Simmons said. “Jay would be happy to see hip-hop at its best in front of the whole world. It’s not only the last thing he did, but (it’s) also one of his greatest hits.”