Run-D.M.C. Unfazed by Crown Royal Delays

After seven years without an album of new material, expectations are high for veteran rap trio Run-D.M.C.'s upcoming Crown Royal, a Supernatural-like collection that features collaborations with Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and DJ Lethal, Jermaine Dupri, Everlast, Method Man, Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins, Sugar Ray, Nas, Method Man, Jagged Edge, and Mobb Deep's Prodigy. The problem is, the album keeps getting delayed; originally slated to come out last fall, its Feb. 27 date has now been bumped back to April 3.

But the trio's Run (born Joseph Simmons) says the group is anything but frustrated.

"It's not delayed; we're just making sure we have all our ducks in place," he explains. "It doesn't bother me as long as people know it's coming."

Run says he's been particularly impressed by the enthusiasm shown by Run-D.M.C.'s new label home, Arista. "This is all new for me, not being on an independent label," he says. "We did this show recently, at an Arista convention, and when we went out onstage they were all dressed like Run-D.M.C — even [company president] L.A. Reid. They all had on the hats and the Adidas and the glasses. I'm just watching Arista invest their time and money like this, and it's amazing. There's a lot of excitement, and we feel it."

Run says the group is preparing to film a video with Hype Williams for the Dupri track "It's Over," which will be the third clip that's been made for Crown Royal's songs. The group plans a multiformat attack targeting urban, rock, and pop radio — and it has particularly high expectations for "Take the Money and Run," a rewrite of the 1976 Steve Miller Band hit that is performed with Everlast.

Run-D.M.C. DJ Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) says he's most anxious for Crown Royal to come out to temper the perception that the group hasn't been active during its hiatus from recording. The trio's most recent album was 1993's Down With the King.

"We never laid down," says Jay. "A lot of people say 'Welcome back' to Run-D.M.C. We've been doing 200 shows, 225 shows. … On our worst year we were still working every weekend. There's no doubt there were people thinking we were gone, but, man, I worked more in '98 than I did in '88. We just haven't put out anything new. But now that's going to change."