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Last Updated: Friday, 9 April, 2004, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Rapper wants to be poet laureate
Hip-hop stars Russell (left) and Joseph Simmons
Joseph Simmons (right) with brother Russell, who created Def Poetry Jam
Hip-hop pioneer Joseph "Run" Simmons, of the rap group Run-DMC, has applied to become poet laureate of the New York borough of Queens, where he was born.

Simmons helped define the rap sound - which some regard as a form of poetry - with Run-DMC in the 1980s.

"The whole life of Run-DMC was concocted in the atmosphere of Hollis, Queens," the rapper said - although he moved to New Jersey last year.

The post, to write verse about the borough, has been empty since December.

Simmons is the brother of Def Jam record label boss Russell Simmons, who created the successful Def Poetry Jam events, which combine poetry and hip-hop.

Some come out of their hometown and they never get dough
But three teens from Queens take over the world and never let go
Just regular cats you know, that just happened to blow
Not synonymous with Hollis - Jay, Darryl and Joe

From the album Crown Royal (1999)
Simmons included the lyrics to one of Run-DMC's songs, Christmas in Hollis, in his application.

Run-DMC's other hits include Walk This Way, It's Like That and It's Tricky. They were the first rappers to have a platinum-selling album, have their videos played on MTV and appear of the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

But Simmons and partner Darryl "DMC" McDaniels wound up the band after their DJ, Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, was shot dead in New York 2002.

Queens' last poet laureate was Hal Sirowitz, who served from 2000 to 2003.

Last year, the UK's poet laureate, Andrew Motion, wrote a poem in rap form to celebrate Prince William's 21st birthday.

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