It has been said that luck is simply what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
For Goldsboro rapper and producer Scott "DeLiverance" Coleson, the intersection of years of preparation and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came to fruition June 18, as Coleson released his new single titled "Slave to the Rhythm," featuring legendary Darryl "DMC" McDaniels of Run-DMC.
The road to collaborating with a hip-hop icon like McDaniels started in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where Coleson was born. Born into poverty, hip-hop music was an escape for Coleson, who first heard Run-DMC's cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" at the age of 9.
That record changed Coleson's life.
"When I heard that record, I knew that I wanted to pursue my dream," he said. "It changed everything."
Music buoyed Coleson through the difficult transitions of his childhood. After his mother could no longer pay the rent on the family's apartment in South Norfolk, the family was forced into homelessness for a time, eventually ending up in Goldsboro with the family of Coleson's mother's boyfriend. Their troubles continued here in Wayne County, as the family moved around several times and struggled to keep the lights on, Coleson said.
As a teenager, Coleson attended Southern Wayne High. It was during this time that he began writing music in earnest, recording his first record when he was 16. Still, it was not until 2017 that Coleson got that golden opportunity to work with one of his idols.
That chance came at, of all places, a comic book convention -- Durham Comic Con in 2017, to be exact. Coleson went to the event with his wife, Jasmine, and their son, while McDaniels was there promoting his comic book titled "DMC," which features the rapper as a superhero in Queens, New York. Coleson got in line to have McDaniels sign a poster for his son, and took the opportunity to tell McDaniels how much of an impact he had made on Coleson's life.
"I told him, 'You and [Run-DMC members] Run and Jam Master Jay are the reason why I rhyme. It's why I get up in the morning,'" he said. "'Y'all inspire me to do what I do.'"
For McDaniels himself, being approached by a fan and a prospective rapper at an event was nothing new. Speaking over the phone from New Jersey, McDaniels said that he initially treated Coleson the way he would anyone else.
"So the first thing I said, when people come up to me I always ask them, 'OK, so how can I hear you?'" McDaniels said. "So he gave me a link to his music, and I was highly impressed."
McDaniels said that, in an era where hip-hop has become a dominant mainstream music genre, he was impressed with both Coleson's authenticity and his lyrical flow -- a feeling which deepened once he saw video of Coleson performing live.
"He was the same guy on stage, he didn't change nothing," McDaniels said. "Nowadays everybody raps -- everybody raps -- but there's not as many people who can put on a show."
With a good first impression made, McDaniels made Coleson the kind of offer he never imagined getting -- he would give Coleson a verse on a track the two would create together.
To begin with, Coleson wasn't sure this was actually going to happen. The first record he sent McDaniels wasn't quite what "DMC" was looking to do, so Coleson went back to the studio and cut a new record with a more hard-rock oriented tinge, the kind of aggressive rap-rock sound that Run-DMC pioneered throughout the 1980s.
"When I sent it to him, I didn't hear nothing for like two weeks, so I was like, 'My whole life is over,'" Coleson said with a laugh. "He hates it!"
Thankfully for Coleson, that couldn't be further from the truth. Jasmine Coleson, who runs Vicious Tunes Music Group along with "DeLiverance," acts as his primary promoter, and sent a follow-up email to "DMC." McDaniels quickly responded that he'd lost Coleson's contact info and had the finished verse ready to go. Within minutes, McDaniels sent the finished product over, and "Slave to the Rhythm" officially went live June 18.
The track is fusion of hard rock and rap elements, with hip-hop vocals over top of a heavy, guitar-driven band. The lyrics touch on sensitive topics like religion and politics -- exactly what McDaniels wanted to do creatively.
"I always wanted to be a rock star." McDaniels said. "I want guitars and anger and social commentary and songs that relate to what's going on in the world."
McDaniels probably wouldn't have much trouble getting anyone to work with him if he wanted to -- he recently worked with Alter Bridge and Slash vocalist Myles Kennedy and Disturbed bassist John Moyer for a song titled "Flames," never mind the famous Aerosmith collaboration on "Walk This Way."
Despite that, working with promising artists like Coleson who are trying to make a name for themselves is far more important than having big names on the record, McDaniels said.
"I'm not [expletive] with celebrities," he said. "For my whole career I've never had a direction. There's so much talent out there now. It's just about giving opportunity, the same opportunity that Jay gave me when he asked me to join him. Now, I'm trying to give that opportunity. Hopefully, some people will notice and go, 'Who is this guy DMC is working with?'"
For his part, Coleson is trying to stay as down to earth as he can.
"It's such a big thing, man. I'm such a humble guy, and we've got this record," he said. "Everybody is going like, 'This is going to change your whole life,' and everybody does that and I just say, 'Man, I'm taking this one day at a time.'"
You can listen to "Slave to the Rhythm" at https://www.vicioustunes.com/ or https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=B4rwtiphxvjhtzi6yjav37euywe.