Run-DMC
Run-DMC

Run-DMC

About Run-DMC

Before hip-hop became a dominant cultural force, Run-DMC were steadily working to unlock its global potential. Queens, New York native Joseph "Run" Simmons earned his stripes performing with '70s rap pioneer Kurtis Blow. But when Simmons injured his arm, he lost the gig, leaving him to form a group with his friend Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels in 1981 and add Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell later as the DJ. Managed by Run's brother, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, they landed a deal with Profile Records, where they released three classic albums in as many years: 1984's Run-DMC, 1985's King of Rock, and 1986's Raising Hell. Rappers would call themselves rock stars as the culture blossomed over future decades, but Run-DMC lived it. They embraced the attitude of rock n' roll with their muscular personalities, loudly shouted rhymes, and electric guitars. Still, they were undeniably hip-hop with their booming drums, lethal turntable scratches, street aesthetic, and flashy fashion. Between their spot on the 1984 Fresh Festival lineup—the first major U.S. hip-hop tour—and their album tours featuring acts like LL Cool J and Beastie Boys, Run-DMC were among the first to go on the road and prove that rap was commercially viable. Raising Hell demonstrated the group's cultural peak: "My Adidas" earned them the first non-athlete sneaker endorsement, and the Aerosmith collab "Walk This Way" took their hard-rock mission statement to new heights for a genre-mashing addition to the zeitgeist of the '80s. Run-DMC continued making music through the early '90s but went on hiatus due to personal issues until reuniting for 2001's Crown Royal. The album was a victory lap that enlisted the talents of rap rockers like Limp Bizkit and Everlast and new rap legends like Nas and Method Man—all of whom owed a debt to Run-DMC for their innovation decades earlier. The group called it quits in 2002 when Jam Master Jay was tragically murdered at his Queens studio. But even after their dissolution, acts like Eminem and Rick Ross have given them props on wax, ensuring that their legacy lives on for years after they're gone.

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