Hip-hop was "created" by Kraftwerk, according to DMC
DMC discusses the all-encompassing musical influences on Run DMC’s 12on12. A layman might find Kraftwerk odd on a record about classic-era rap influences, but DMC explains: "Kraftwerk created hip-hop." He may be exaggerating, but it's hard to argue his point. As he points out, Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force's 'Planet Rock' sampled the German electronic pioneers' 'Trans Europe Express' - with both tracks appearing on the vinyl release.
“Kraftwerk were a foundation of hip-hop not just because of their music, but they built their own machines and computers,” DMC says. “They were doing the same thing as young boys and girls in the Bronx were doing at the beginning of hip-hop. We didn’t have studios but we heard their music and something in their music connected us. If you listen to the early years of hip-hop… we followed the blueprint of a group from Germany.”
In New York City, 'Trans Europe Express' was among the most popular songs among hip-hop DJs: "It was played in every park and block party." The DJ would play it and everyone within a 10-mile radius would head to the park when they heard Kraftwerk."
“It was the same culture that Kraftwerk grew out of that gave birth to hip-hop... White German people and black Bronxites are not different.”
Kenny G was another unexpected artist to appear on the record. DMC describes it as "the perfect source for sampling".
“It’s music – it’s the vibration,” DMC tells us. “Kenny G is music and hip-hop is nothing without music. People are so focused on race that they would not give a black kid the benefit of the doubt that he listens to Kenny G. Music is music. Kenny G makes great music that we can sample."
You may think you're listening to a Kenny G serenade, but I'm thinking about putting a beat-up underneath it. I think it's an example of tearing down the barriers of racism and separation."
It's obvious that 'Walk This Way', the group's cross-genre collaboration with classic rockers Aerosmith, was a key component of the release.
"Steven Tyler is that kid that would come over to your house and play with you all day that your mother and father had to kick out." DMC recalls working with the band. That’s his spirit – very energetic, very enthusiastic, very inquisitive… very outgoing. He’s the guy who did country music and blues – he’s Kraftwerk, Kenny G, Run DMC and James Brown all rolled up into one.”
“When we were in the studio recording ‘Walk This Way’, Steven was asking Jay to teach him how to DJ. I believe there’s some footage out there of Jay teaching Steven how to DJ. Steven was like, ‘I’m going to rap with y’all’… Steven Tyler is the little kid in all of us.”
Luke Morgan Britton and DMC discuss Run DMC's 12on12 vinyl drop in a video interview on NME.com.