Hide your Nikes and get some Adidas on those feet pronto! We’re talking about the hip-hop legends and kings of both hip-hop and rock, RUN DMC! 

RUN DMC is an American hip hop group that formed in Hollis, Queens, New York City, in 1982. The group consisted of Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell. They are considered one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time, even if you THINK you don’t know them, you probably know their songs. They are credited with breaking down racial barriers and bringing hip hop to the mainstream. 


So many influences

I’ve always found people who claim they only listen to one genre of music slightly off putting. Part of me can’t help but distrust them, surely they hide in their rooms, check no one is watching and listen to Justin Bieber like every other normal human being? RUN DMC seemed to share at least some of that mindset too, because their influences were spread far and wide, including The Rolling Stones, Kraftwerk, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, George Clinton, The Sugarhill Gang and more. This diverse taste in music all contributed to a sound that fused hip hop and rock music together, in what at the time was a fresh and unique way; and what today is still considered popular and timeless. Needless to say, you can see RUN DMC’s influence on countless artists and bands that have come after.


Mainstream success

RUN DMC achieved mainstream success in the early 1980s, when hip-hop was still considered a relatively new genre. They were one of the first hip-hop groups to … well, do a whole lot of stuff actually. To appear on MTV with the music video to “Rock Box” in 1984, to perform at Live Aid in 1985, to tour with a live band, to appear in a major motion picture (Krush Groove), to go platinum with their classic album ‘Raising Hell’ in 1986, AND to grace the cover of Rolling Stone that same year.     

What helped them get there? You see, RUN DMC was already one of the top-selling rap acts by the mid-1980s. However, MTV were still being slow on the uptake and largely ignoring rap and hip-hop. So their producer, Def Jam Records co-founder and absolute legend Rick Rubin, wanted to see RUN DMC reach a wider audience, an audience that included the kind of suburban rock-obsessed teen that he himself had once been. Rick suggested to the group that they cover a Aerosmith hit that they had been sampling. He then reached out to Aerosmith with a proposal. That phone proposal ended up becoming the mighty hip hop/rock classic "Walk This Way,". A song people are STILL drunkenly dancing to at nightclubs. A crossover hit that helped to introduce hip-hop to a wider audience, and most importantly to break down racial barriers in the music industry. 



Fashion is king

RUN DMC's fashion sense was also iconic, and it helped to define hip hop culture in the 1980s. The group was known for wearing Adidas tracksuits, Kangol hats, and big gold chains. They also popularised the use of sneakers in hip hop fashion, in fact, they loved their sneakers so much that they immortalised them in their track "My Adidas", which led to the group signing a $1,600,000 endorsement deal with Adidas (who were also trying to sign Michael Jordan, but that’s a whole different story). That partnership could be considered "the beginning of what we have come to know as hip hop fashion".

RUN DMC's fashion sense was more than just a way to look cool and get endorsements though. It was also a way to express their identity and their culture. The Adidas tracksuits represented their working-class roots, while the Kangol hats were a nod to their African heritage and the gold chains were a symbol of their success. RUN DMC's fashion sense was influential not only on hip hop culture, but also on mainstream fashion. Their look was (and is still) copied by people of all ages and backgrounds, and it helped to make hip hop fashion more mainstream.



Jay's Legacy

The world, and the hip-hop community, suffered a great loss when Jam Master Jay was shot on October 30th, 2002. He was a true pioneer of hip-hop DJing, and he helped to shape the sound of hip-hop music. He was also a mentor to many young DJs, and he helped to inspire a new generation of hip hop artists. 

Jay's impact on hip hop was profound. He was one of the first DJs to use scratching techniques, and he helped to popularise this technique in hip hop music. He was also a skilled producer, and he produced many of RUN DMC's most successful songs.

In 2009, Jay was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of RUN DMC. He was also inducted into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame in 2002.

Jay's death was a major loss to the hip hop community, but his legacy lives on. He is and will continue to be an inspiration to DJs and hip hop artists around the world.


Legends of hip-hip

RUN DMC are one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time. Their legacy continues to inspire hip hop artists today. Their influence on hip hop culture is undeniable. They were one of the first hip hop groups to achieve mainstream success, and they helped to break down racial barriers. Their music and fashion sense helped to define hip hop culture in the 1980s, and their legacy continues to inspire and mould the culture today.

That’s why we collaborated with RUN DMC to honour Jam Master Jay and the 35th anniversary of their iconic album "Raising Hell". They curated our hand-numbered, limited-edition deluxe double-disc vinyl record, with a soundtrack that embodies the story of RUN DMC's legacy. Featuring songs that inspired, affected and changed the ground-breaking group's music, from The Sugarhill Gang and Afrika Bambaataa to MFSB and Kraftwerk. Exclusive RUN DMC labels adorn the double-disc gatefold sleeve, which features a unique work of art by Reena Tolentino aka. 'RT', who also offers her interpretation of the iconic RUN DMC logo.

RUN DMC x Reena Tolentino RT

July 15, 2023

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