Run-DMC Photography

Run-DMC

The influence of Run-DMC on the development of rap can scarcely be overstated. They were the first group to score both gold and platinum albums, representing a pivotal commercial breakthrough for the genre. However, hip-hop historians also credit them with creating a brand new style. Their new school of hip-hop emphasized stark arrangements and an aggressive self-assertion—without which hardcore rap would have never arisen.

Hailing from Hollis, Queens, rappers Run and DMC were joined by DJ Jam Master Jay in 1983. Their first single, “It’s Like That/Sucker MCs,” stood in contrast to the disco and funk-laden party rap in favor at the time. They followed it up with classics Run-DMC (1984), King of Rock (1985), and Raising Hell (1986)—each considered essential to hip-hop’s evolution, featuring street-wise lyrics over innovative drum tracks with hints of hard rock.

The trio disbanded in 2002 and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Run-DMC changed forever the vocabulary and sound of rap, paving the way for its critical and commercial success later in the decade and beyond.

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