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Rev RunFame & Fortune: Rev Run Simmons
'My main business is giving -- the money comes back'

"Run's House," a reality TV show featuring Joseph "Reverend Run" Simmons -- formerly of the rap group Run-DMC -- and his wife and five kids, is the most unusual show on MTV.

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There is no drunken misbehavior, no women shaking their bottoms in scant attire, no foul language. The life we see in "Run's House" is the exact opposite of what people perceive hip-hop life to be, perhaps because the star is years removed -- and evolved -- from his own rap heyday.

The 41-year-old Run is now a preacher at Zoe Ministries, which features religious programming on The Word Network and BET. "Run's House" shows a slice of his life as a regular husband, father and businessman, although his status as multimillionaire rap legend makes him anything but average. With his brother, rap impresario Russell Simmons, he co-owns Run Athletics and Phat Farm Footwear, companies that have glowed with success -- much as Run-DMC paved the way for rap to become one of America's most popular types of music.

Run Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels were childhood friends who grew up performing in Queens, N.Y., and teamed up with Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell in 1983 as Run-DMC. Soon after releasing their first single, "It's Like That," they were on MTV -- no small feat for a black group in 1983 -- and were the first rap act to have a video played on the music channel. They also had the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the R&B charts and the first hip-hop act to break into the top 10 Billboard's singles chart, with the remake of the song "Walk this Way."

As he prepares for season two of "Run's House," Bankrate spoke to Rev Run about his spiritual attitude toward money.

Bankrate: You were going to do "Run's House" with the ABC Family Channel, but Diddy (Sean Combs) persuaded you to take it to MTV. Why do you think that it was right for MTV viewers?

Rev Run: People my age watched MTV grow up, because MTV came around at the same time Run-DMC did in 1983. I thought, "This can work. People wanna see a functional family on MTV." So Puffy (another name for Combs) said, "Let's do it." I said, "Connect with Russell, because Russell and me have a business deal," and Puffy said, "I'd love to work with Russell." We put it on MTV, and the ratings did well.

Bankrate: When you think about the big picture, what's your take on where rap has gone since your heyday?

Rev Run: It's beautiful that 50 Cent can look at Russell Simmons and learn he can put out an energy drink. I can open my own book company -- not just put out a book, but a book company. And I can put out other rappers. I love to see Snoop Dogg doing doggy clothing (Snoop Dogg Clothing). I'm impressed with the business of rap. The people there earlier, we didn't know. We were trying to make sure the rap was good. We weren't making sure our business was straight. So when I look at the rappers today, like Master P and Romeo and all these other great rappers, they're businessmen, and I respect that, because it's an entertainment industry, but it's also a business. We want to be involved in every aspect, not looking at the end of the day with tap dance shoes in our closet and no money.

 
 
Next: "Money only magnifies what you're already doing."
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