Old and new school MVPs collide
Montel Vontavious Porter -- MVP -- is one of the fastest rising stars on SmackDown and in all WWE. And if you don't believe him, ask him yourself. He'll tell you he's already a legend, even though he's been with WWE for less than a year.
However, no one would deny that Rev. Run is a legend. As one third of Run-DMC, he is a rap pioneer whose influence continues to be heard in hip-hop today. Run is also a reality TV star, as Run's House -- which follows the daily adventures of the rapping reverend and his family -- has just started its third season on MTV.
WWE fans may be surprised to know that MVP is a lifelong Run-DMC fan. Even the self-proclaimed "franchise playa" was in awe as he got a chance to talk to one of his idols at length in this week's Superstar to Superstar:
MVP: First of all, man, let me tell you, it was a real treat for me to be at WrestleMania, but it was really special to get to see you and your family there. How did you enjoy the show?
Run: It was amazing. [When I was a child,] I had never been to a wrestling match. I used to watch it on television, when I was younger, watching folks like "The Lariat" (Stan "The Lariat" Hansen). Then I used to look at Bruno Sammartino.... When I was coming up, I used to watch wrestling all the time. It was amazing, [watching guys like] Andre the Giant. I hadn't been [to a show] in so long -- going [to WrestleMania 23] just blew my mind. It was crazy; it was phenomenal.
MVP: Now check this out: I know you gotta feel like the franchise playa of SmackDown -- the franchise playa of the entire WWE, yours truly, MVP -- stole the show. Wouldn't you agree with that?
Run: 1,000 percent. In truth, it was probably Donald Trump who stole the show, but I think you might have edged him out.
MVP: Now you see, that's a wonderful thing. I tell people all the time that hip-hop wouldn't be what it is today without Run-DMC. Being an old school individual, you're a pioneer in rap and hip-hop -- just like MVP is going to be in World Wrestling Entertainment when all is said and done. But you're also a longtime wrestling and WWE fan. Who do you like watching most, the old school Superstars or the new school Superstars?
Run: Well, obviously it's MVP who is my hero.
MVP: [Laughs] Now, you see, Rev. Run is on point. We're on the same page.
Run: I'm already huge fan. Your name alone says everything. We need to realize [who is] the most valuable player.
MVP: [Laughs] Rev. Run, ladies and gentlemen. Now let me ask you, how about your kids, man? Do they follow us as much as you did growing up?
Run: They follow it just as much. I used to watch it Wednesday nights at 12 o'clock. I used to even take it so far as to watch Lucha Libre.
MVP: Now just out of curiosity, do you have to tell them not to jump off the couch and kick each other in the head? Or are they cool about that?
Run: I tell them to get their butts in bed. [MVP laughs] They were up all night last night watching the Divas. I can't believe some of those girls. It was pretty crazy.
MVP: Now let me change gears on you for just a second. This is the third season of your reality TV show, Run's House. It just premiered Monday night (April 9), right?
Run: Yeah, it was pretty good.
MVP: What can we expect this season on Run's House?
Run: Well, the girls moved out of the house, number one, and into their own apartment. On that note, that's very different. And we had some situations that went on in the house that were pretty devastating, so that adds to the drama. But it's a reality show, so that drama tests the strength of our family.
MVP: Being in the spotlight, with cameras following me around, I've gotten used to that now. And you being in the business for so long, to you it's second nature. Is your family used to it now? Has it gotten easier with each season?
Run: They don't follow me around all the time. On a Sunday, what we do is we come to a meeting and talk about all that's going on in my house for that week. Let's say that I have a graduation party coming up, and I have to deal with a party planner for that graduation party. And I'm doing that Monday morning. They'll [the show's producers] say, "No, please do that Tuesday afternoon so the cameras can be in place." So a lot of the time, I just have to reschedule what's going on in order for them to catch that. It's a very unique show. It's shot sitcom-style, but it's really reality because all they do is make sure they can catch what I'm doing. Like all of sudden if I get really mad at one of my sons and I want to go off then, they'll say, "Please hold that until tomorrow -- the speech to your son about his schoolwork. It's really reality to rethink my approach with my children.
MVP: Now, that's really interesting that you should say that. With so many reality TV shows out there, did you think that yours would make it into a third season? You just touched upon some of the factors that distinguish Run's House from the other family-oriented reality shows like The Osbournes, Gene Simmons Family Jewels and Hogan Knows Best. Did you think Run's House would come this far? Were you looking that far ahead?
Run: No. My job is to be on the assignment that God gave me and serve at the best capacity that I can. As long as I'm in touch with God, I don't really concern myself too much -- I try not to -- with what's next for me. If it [the show] got cancelled tomorrow, I'm sure God would have something else because I'm constantly in touch with the Holy Spirit. So my job is really to stay in touch with God. If he shuts something down, I don't have my heart in a place where it would hurt me because I know it's all his plan.
MVP: So your director is under a higher authority?
Run: I don't really leave my heart open for disappointment. I work my butt off, but I don't leave myself in a position to be disappointed or [be] in too far of expectation of what God is or what God will do. At this point, I'll do 10 seasons [of Run's House] if this is what the Holy Spirit directed me to do.
MVP: Okay, let me ask you this, and this runs into what you were telling me just a moment ago. In Run's House, the TV audience has gotten to see -- and will get to see -- some pretty raw moments, perhaps situations that many families would like to keep private. And I have read that we'll see your eldest son test you a bit this season. Did you find yourself changing your behavior, your parenting style, at all because you knew the cameras were there? Were you more lenient on your kids or did you find yourself being harder on them during the show?
Run: To me, all of life is a reality show. I'm always trying to conduct myself, whether it's in front of my kids or if I just walk into a room, in a certain way. My day is pretty much disciplined as far as how I react to my kids, how I react on camera -- it's all a camera to me. I have the eyes of God watching me, so I'm trying to conduct myself in the best way possible, whether the cameras are on or off.
MVP: I've talked to quite a few people who have been on reality shows. I've always been of the opinion that most of the time, when the camera's on, you're not quite getting the same person or the same group of people that you would get when the camera's off. So, is it fair to say that, with Rev. Run, what you see on camera with his family is what you get?
Run: Yes, that's very true.
MVP: Now, in talking about your kids, it seems like they're reaching for the stars themselves. Vanessa's a model and aspiring actress, right?
Run: Yeah, she is all of that and more. She is a businesswoman more than anything. She has her own sneaker line out and a company called V and A, which stands for Vanessa and Angela. They have pastries in the store. I'm leading them more into business. She [Vanessa] can do acting, but I think her forté -- what I'll be pushing more for her -- is business because she is very excellent at that.
MVP: And Angela's on her way to a magazine publishing career? Is that one of her projects?
Run: She has a magazine out right now called Angela's Rundown, which is polybagged with Word Up! magazine, and she's editor of Word Up! magazine. Yes, this is pretty much a mentored life. My children are very much mentored.
MVP: And [one of Run's sons] Jojo is getting ready for college right?
Run: Yes, Jojo is on his way to college. He is an up-and-coming rap star. This is what Jojo loves.
MVP: As you said, your kids have a mentored life. What's the most important advice you've given all your kids?
Run: The biggest piece of advice I've given all my kids was to stay with the mentors because the mentor shortens the distance. The mentor has already been through it, [and] is willing to share with you his mistakes and his new way of approaching life. So, if you can follow a mentor -- which my children do -- that can help you avoid a lot of mistakes.
MVP: It's funny, one of the issues I've found in this day and age -- and from my own personal experiences -- is that there are too many African-American kids growing up today without the mother and father at home, or without the father figure. That's something I had to deal with. My father was distant most of the time. So, your children are at a great advantage, having you to take them by the hand and guide them and give them that advice. I think that as a community, as a people, we'd be a lot better off if we had more fathers like you taking that role. On personal note, I'd just like to give you kudos just for that, man.
Run: Well, that's why I do the show -- to inspire other men to do what I'm doing.
MVP: Well, it moves me because I see my brother with his son. He tries to be as much of a father as he can, and tries not to make the mistakes that were made with us. Whenever I see that, it moves me. I don't have any children yet, but I tell you, I look at men like yourself, like my brother, who try to do things the right way. I say to myself that if I ever find myself being a father, I hope I can be that kind of a father.
Run: Between what I portray on Run's House and Will Smith's portrayal in The Pursuit of Happyness, I think we're well on our way to creating people who inspire that type of life and that type of help to our community.
MVP: I hope so, man…. Besides Run's House, what other projects are you working on now?
Run: My main ministry is Run's House because it reaches people. I'm a humanitarian, my job is to inspire. That's basically it besides my sneaker company -- I have Arthur Ashe sneakers. The thing I work at the most is to get in where I fit in. The best thing I can do right now is to continue to inspire with this "ministry" of encouraging people not so much through the pulpit but through my actions.
MVP: When you were with Run-DMC you wrote a special song for WrestleMania V, and if I'm correct, it was called "WrestleMania Rap," and you performed that at WrestleMania V.
Run: I remember performing.
MVP: You also wrote "The Kings" for D-Generation X back in 2000.
Run: That was fun.
MVP: Well, when are you going to rap a song for me, man? Silkk the Shocker performs my entrance music and I think it fits a guy like me who's already established himself as a force to be reckoned with. But even a franchise playa like me needs to freshen things up every once and awhile, you know what I mean? I don't know if you remember [our conversation] at WrestleMania 23, but the very first concert I went to ever was "Raising Hell" at the Miami Stadium. So, come on, man. I wanna get down with the kings.
Run: Yeah, well if you can get Vince McMahon to set me up, I will make a record for you. If you all ask me, I will create a single for you and be your cheerleader.
MVP: I'm going to put the plan in motion right now. I still have [Run-DMC's] "Rock Box" on vinyl.
Run: If you really put the plan in motion, I will create a high aggression record that will blow the whole place down, and I will be out there performing it for you. You just got to set it up, and I'm there.
MVP: I will set the pendulum in motion. You know there's nothing stale about me, unlike that boring, uncharismatic Chris Benoit -- you know I'm going to take his United States Championship. That will be the first milestone of many in my legendary career. What moment or achievement has made you the proudest in your legendary career?
Run: I would guess it would have to be sitting here talking to MVP.
Both men start laughing.
MVP: You know, I have always loved you man. I didn't think your cool points could go up any more, but we have to create a new bracket of cool points for Rev. Run.
Run: Yeah, man. I'm with you 1,000 percent.
MVP: Thank you for your time, man. I'm gonna keep an eye on you, and I want you to keep an eye on me.