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  • Faith: Christian
  • Career: Musician
  • Birthday:  November 14, 1964

Joseph Ward Simmons, better known by his stage name Rev. Run, is a producer, rapper, DJ and television personality. He's one of the founding members of the influential hip-hop group Run-DMC. In 2005, he found new popularity with his family's MTV reality show "Run's House." He was born in 1964 in Hollis, Queens, New York. Simmons is the younger brother of artists Danny and Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Records.

Before Run-DMC, Simmons was the lead vocalist in the hip-hop group named The Force. He founded Run-DMC as a lead vocalist with his friend Darryl McDaniels and the late DJ Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell. He started using the stage name Rev. Run after he was ordained as a Pentecostal minister by E. Bernard Jordan, his spiritual mentor. Jordan also named him Protégée of the Year" in 2004. The same day, symbolic of his "Prosperity Ministry," there was a Rolls-Royce parade outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City featuring Jordan's Phantom Rolls-Royce. The new $325,000 Phantom was a gift from Rev. Run as a thank you for Jordan's mentoring support.

His first work as Rev. Run was a feature in the single "Song 4 Lovers" by UK pop band Liberty X in September 2005. The music video for that song was directed by Bill Schacht for Aestheticom and reached broadcast airplay chart positions of No. 2 Box UK and No. 4 MTV UK with heavy rotation on five other music channels in the UK. "Song 4 Lovers" also reached No. 5 on the Official Charts Company's UK Top 40 Singles Chart, becoming the band's seventh top 10 hit. It was followed by his first solo album, "Distortion." The first single from the album "Mind on the Road" is featured in the EA Sports' Madden NFL 06 video game.

"Mind on the Road" used samples from the song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in the tradition of Run-DMC's 1980s hits, which use samples like Aerosmith's "Walk This Way." He appeared on the MTV series "Run’s House,” a reality show revolving around his everyday life with his family, from 2005 to 2009. Simmons also appeared with his son Diggly on “My Super Sweet 16” while attending a 16th birthday party for Diddy’s son, Quincy. Diddy also served as a producer of “Run’s House.” In 2008, Simmons and his wife Justine teamed up with Kool-Aid and a non-profit organization called KaBOOM! to help build playgrounds in underserved communities. With Kool-Aid, they helped build 24 playgrounds throughout 2008 and raised awareness for the need for safe play spaces.

What religion is Rev. Run?

Rev. Run identifies as a Christian. He became an ordained minister shortly after Run-DMC disbanded in 2004. In an interview detailing his walk through Christianity, he said, “I was a little unhappy with what was going on, so I started going to church. And when I started going to church, I started to feel better. Things were starting to look brighter for me. I started to see that learning the principles of God was helping to shape my life better."

He continued, “I didn't know how it was going to unfold at first, but I started to become very passionate and watched the pastors in different churches in different places. And I saw how grounded and how organized their families were and how cool they were. So I thought that this would be great for me, too, as I was becoming a minister.”

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