Joseph Ward Simmons (born November 14, 1964), known by the stage name Rev. Run or DJ Run, is one of the founding members of the influential hip hop group Run–D.M.C. He is also a practicing minister, known as Reverend Run.
Before Run–D.M.C., Simmons was the lead vocalist in the hip-hop group called "The Force." He founded Run-D.M.C. as a lead vocalist along with friend Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels and the late DJ Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell.
Run began using the stage name of "Rev. Run" after he was ordained as a Pentecostal minister by E. Bernard Jordan, Simmons's spiritual mentor. Jordan also named him "Protege of the Year Award" 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 had been a gift from Reverend 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 5 other music channels in the UK.
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's Madden NFL 06 video game. "Mind on the Road" uses samples from the song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", in the tradition of Run–D.M.C.'s 1980s hits which use samples like Aerosmith's hit "Walk This Way".
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 are helping to build twenty four playgrounds over the course of 2008 and hope to raise awareness for the need for safe play spaces.
On August 5, 2008, Gotham Press published Simmons' book, Take Back Your Family: A Challenge to America's Parents, co-authored by his wife, Justine Simmons, and Chrisifer Morrow.
On September 8, 2007, Rev Run was honored as a BMI Icon at the annual BMI Urban Awards.
The weekend of September 17 and 18 of 2011, Rev Run made a special guest appearance at Bay Area Fellowship with Pastor Bil Cornelius in Corpus Christi, Texas Bay Area Fellowship Church.
He married Justine Jones on June 25, 1994. With her, he had three more children: Daniel "Diggy" Simmons III, Russell "Russy" Simmons II, and Victoria Anne Simmons. Victoria was four pounds, five ounces when she was delivered via caesarean section. She died shortly after being born on September 26, 2006, due to omphalocele, a birth defect that caused her organs to grow outside her body. The Simmonses allowed MTV camera crews of Run's House to document baby Victoria's death, telling PEOPLE that "God, in my mind, gave us something to go through in front of America, so we documented it on-camera – not so much to show you sadness, but to show you how we, as ministers, would handle this tragedy. [The kids] found out on-camera. Diggy was waiting to see, 'How's Mommy?' And the first words we said were, 'The baby didn't make it.'" Soon they adopted a baby girl, Miley Justine Simmons.