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How visionary Rev Run made his fortune

Meet Joseph Ward Simmons, aka Rev Run, an iconic American rapper, producer, and entrepreneur. This article delves into his journey, from early music career to building a successful brand and ventures

by Victor Adetimilehin

Joseph Ward Simmons, better known by his stage names Run, Rev. Run, or DJ Run, is an American rapper, producer, DJ, and television personality. He left an indelible mark on music history. Beyond the stage, he’s a minister and a champion for positive change in the community .This article explores how he started out, his career, and his successful business ventures.

He was born on Nov. 14, 964, in Hollis, Queens, New York, and he is the younger brother of artist Danny Simmons and Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Records. Before his fame with Run-DMC, he was the lead vocalist in a hip-hop group called The Force. He first stepped into the spotlight as a DJ for Kurtis Blow, but it was his synergy with Darryl McDaniels and the legendary DJ Jam Master Jay that propelled the formation of Run-D.M.C., a group that would become synonymous with hip-hop’s ascent. Run adopted the stage name “Rev. Run” after being ordained as a Pentecostal minister by E. Bernard Jordan, his spiritual mentor. With the guidance of his brother, Russell Simmons, a co-founder of Def Jam alongside Rick Rubin, Run-D.M.C. soared, creating a fusion of genres and cultures with their seminal cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”


Beyond his musical endeavors, Rev. Run expanded his influence into the realms of spirituality and television. His website became a beacon for daily spiritual nourishment through “Rev Run’s Words of Wisdom, “reflecting his profound spiritual insights. In 2005, his journey took a captivating turn with MTV’s “Run’s House”, a reality show that offered an intimate glimpse into the familial and personal life of the hip-hop icon. He then expanded the brand further, through innovative shows like “Rev Run’s Renovation,” “Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers,” “Rev Runs Around the World,” and “Runs House,” which set the bar for unfiltered, family-centric reality TV. This strategic move not only diversified his portfolio but also carved out new channels of income within the entertainment sphere. 


Run Athletics, established in the early 2000s by Rev Run of Run-D.M.C. fame alongside his brother, Russell Simmons, is a brand that epitomizes the intersection of hip-hop culture and fashion. It gained prominence with the Pastry footwear line, created by Rev Run’s daughters Vanessa and Angela Simmons, known for its vibrant and trendy designs. The brand extends beyond footwear to include a diverse range of apparel products, offering a mix of athletic and casual wear that echoes the street style of hip-hop culture. The clothing consists of jogging suits, T-shirts, sport shorts, fleece activewear, baseball caps, and many other items. This fusion of music, lifestyle, and fashion has not only marked Run Athletics’ commercial success but has also cemented its status as a cultural symbol, contributing significantly to the dialogue around urban style and identity.


A notable part of Rev. Run’s wealth comes from his investments in real estate. He purchased a property in Saddle River, New Jersey, for $1.6 million in 2003, which became famous as the setting for the reality show “Run’s House.” The house had 6 bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms, and 2 half bathrooms. This mansion, featuring luxury amenities like a private recording studio, a home theater, and an indoor basketball court, was put on the market for $5.3 million in 2005, and later re-listed for $5.5 million in 2007.


“Take Back Your Family: A Challenge to America’s Parents,” authored by Rev. Run and Justine Simmons, is a heartfelt guide blending personal experiences, practical advice, and spiritual wisdom. They share their secrets to raising a respectful and loving family that can enjoy the good times while surviving the hard ones. The book emphasizes the importance of core values and strong family bonds in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world. It serves as a powerful call to action for parents to focus on nurturing and emotionally supportive home environments, underscoring the impact of positive parenting on society’s future. As a bestselling book, the generated revenue contributes substantially to Rev Run’s returns.


Rev Run’s transition into television and media, through innovative shows like “Rev Run’s Renovation,” “Run’s House,” “Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers,” and “Rev Runs Around the World,” demonstrates a brilliant evolution beyond his musical legacy. ‘Run’s House’ set the Bar for Unfiltered, Family-Centric Reality TV, with other television productions also having great achievements. This strategic move not only diversified his portfolio but also carved out new channels of income within the entertainment sphere. His approach interweaves engaging family dynamics with lifestyle and culinary themes, showcasing his adaptability and ingenuity as an entertainment mogul and a visionary in media entrepreneurship. Rev. Run’s impact on television extends beyond his own shows. His involvement in “Run’s House” and subsequent ventures has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Whether through reality TV or scripted comedy, Rev Run continues to inspire audiences with his unique blend of humor, wisdom, and family values.

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