Formed in Queens, New York, Run-DMC is an American hip-hop group that is composed of Darryl McDaniels, Jazon Mizell, and Joseph Simmons. They’re known to be one of hip-hop’s most influential acts and one of the most famous hip-hop groups that emerged in the 80’s. They were the first ever group in the hip-hop scene that was nominated in the Grammys and the first group to have a gold album and a platinum record. In 2007, MTV and VH1 hailed Run-DMC as the greatest hip-hop artist of all time.
Run-DMC released a total of seven albums during their career, these are
- Run-D.M.C. (1984)
- King of Rock (1985)
- Raising Hell (1986)
- Tougher Than Leather (1988)
- Back from Hell (1990)
- Down with the King (1993)
- Crown Royal (2001)
They are also responsible for the hit singles like,
- It’s Tricky
- It’s Like That
- My Adidas
- Rock Box
- Sucker M.C’s
- King Of Rock
- Down With The King
- Peter Piper
- Christmas in Hollies
- Run’s House
- You Talk Too Much
- Can You Rock it Like This
- Beats to The Rhyme
History and Career
Darryl McDaniels, Joseph Simmons (also known as Run), and Jason Mizzel all grew up in Hollis, Queens. Run-DMC started in the 1980s when the brother of Simmons, Russel Simmons, formed the hip-hop management company named Rush Productions and by mid-1980s, they founded the pioneering record label named Def Jam records with Rick Rubin. Russel Simmons then urged his little brother and his friend Darryl McDaniels to form a hip-hop duo. The two did just that and they recruited their friend Jazon Mizzel to play the turntables. They named their group Run-DMC.
Run-DMC released their self-titled debut studio album in 1983 which included the hit singles “It’s Like That”, and “Sucker M.C”. The music sounded unique at that time, it’s a rap record that had a great sound along with daring vocals where Joseph and Darryl’s voice overlap as they finish each other’s lines. The sound was new to the ears of the public that’s why the song became a top 20 R&B hit. Run-DMC followed its success by releasing the singles “Hard times”, and “Jam Master Jay”.
In 1984, Run-DMC released their second full- length studio album entitled “King of Rock”. They had quickly rose to fame and became one of the most influential rappers in America. Their second album is all about them breaking down the walls between rock, hip-hop, and rap music by rapping over heavy metal records with thick and dense drum loops. The King of Rock featured three hit singles entitled “King of Rock”, “Can You Rock It Like This” and “You Talk Too Much”. And on 1985, Run-DMC appeared in a rap movie together with the Beastie Boys, The Fat Boys, and Kurtis Blow.
Run-DMC broke into the mainstream music scene in 1986 when they released their third album “Raising Hell”. And the album held the hit song “My Adidas” which entered the top ten of the R&B charts. Another hit single that came from this album was their cover of the Aerosmith’s song “Walk This Way” which they recorded with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. This song helped to abate the unspoken war between hip-hop and rock and roll because it was enjoyed by both rockers and rappers. The song became very successful that it reached the number four on the pop charts. And “Walk This Way” grabbed the number one spot on the R&B charts and went on to be a platinum album.
Run-DMC was the first hip hop group ever that had airplay on MTV and they were the first rappers that managed to cross over in to the mainstream pop genre in the US. “Raising Hell” also featured two more hit singles entitled “You Be Illin’” and “It’s Tricky.”
Run-DMC released their follow-up album to Raising Hell on 1988 entitled Tougher Than Leather which went together with their own movie of the same title. The record and the movie took over a year to finish that’s why when they were released and by the time they were done the rap scene was starting to change. People no longer wanted to hear crossover artists like Run-DMC anymore, instead, they preferred political rappers like Public Enemy. Tougher Than Leather only went platinum, the movie was a flop and the album failed to produce any hit singles.
Run-DMC went back into the music scene two years later and released their fifth album “Back from Hell”. It was Run-DMC’s first album that did not go platinum. Following the release of their fifth album, Run-DMC faced personal problems. McDaniels dealt with issues of alcoholism and Joseph Simmons faced rape charges. After the two overcame their personal problems, they became born-again Christians which was obvious on their sixth album entitled “Down with The King”. The album featured production assistance and collaborations with different artists such as Naughty by Nature, Public Enemy, EPMD, and Pete Rock. This album was Run-DMC’s much-needed comeback and it proved that they were still respected artists in the industry.
Over the course of their career, Run-DMC has garnered a lot of firsts in the music industry such as being the first number one R&B chart-topping album, the first rap artists to earn gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums, the first rap artists to hail the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, the first rap artists to perform at a major arena. Run-DMC has indeed paved the way for R&B and hip-hop music scene to be more recognized and accepted.