By  on January 27, 2005

NEW YORK — Darryl McDaniels, better known as DMC (yes, that DMC from Eighties hip-hop pioneers, Run DMC), knew he didn’t need to start a clothing line at this point in his life. Rather, he wanted to — and once he gets an idea in his head, it’s hard to tell him otherwise.

“I remember when I wanted to become the number one rapper on my street corner,” McDaniels said, seated in a photo studio near Gramercy Park here. “What did I become? The number one rapper in the world.”

McDaniels’ directness, mixed with his glowingly positive attitude, come to life in his new clothing line, Darryl M. Clothing, which launches next month. The collection includes Ts, tanks, hoodies, warm-up suits and hats for women and men. Key phrases such as “Still Rockin’ It” and “Rockin’ It Since the Beginning” adorn some styles, but other styles are void of any Run DMC or hip-hop reference.

“I want my clothes to be art, to be universal,” he said. “I don’t want to be just another rapper with a clothing line.” McDaniels said he wants to see “grandmothers, skaters, hip-hop kids, and even old, out-of-shape guys who want to be cool” wearing his clothes. “I just want to make clothes for all people,” he said.

Prices for the collection are still being considered. Barbara Wohl, co-owner of Five Hours Guy, the Miami-based apparel company that holds the license for the Darryl M. Clothing collection, said the women’s and men’s collections would be priced in the midtier range. Darryl M. Clothing will approach stores such as Sam Goody, Virgin Megastores and Tower Records in addition to department stores nationwide. The first-year projected wholesale volume for the collection is $1 million to $3 million.

McDaniels understands that these days, every musician worth his or her recording contract has his or her own clothing line, but he said he’s in it for different reasons.

“I’m not in it for the money,” he said. “I could have done this years ago, but at that time, I had to focus on my music and Run DMC. I wasn’t ready for this then. Now, I’m in it for the creativity.”The Ts and tanks in the women’s collection have positive sayings such as “Go through life as if heaven is on earth” subtly sprinkled on the shirts. “When you wear clothes, they’re supposed to say something. My clothes are literally saying something.”

McDaniels, 40, is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts due to some recent developments in his life. Five years ago, the hip-hop phenom found out he was adopted. “When I found out, I was like, ‘Wow, who the hell is Darryl?’” he said. But McDaniels, a big believer in destiny, said events happen for a reason.

“If I wasn’t adopted, I would have never lived in Queens, which means I would have never met Run and there would have never been Run DMC,” he said, wide-eyed. Shortly after McDaniels discovered he was adopted, Jam Master Jay, born Jason Mizell, a member of Run DMC, was killed. McDaniels said he plunged into a depression at that time, but found an unlikely savior. “Sarah McLachlan saved my life,” he said.

During this time, McDaniels said he often listened to McLachlan’s records and found solace in her songs.

McDaniels has since teamed up with McLachlan to remake Harry Chapin’s hit, “Cats in the Cradle.” In March, his new solo album, “Checks, Thugs, and Rock-N-Roll” drops. He also has plans to launch an energy drink, a line of watches and a cartoon series.

“I’ll probably be the voice of one of the characters,” he said, excited at the prospect.

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