On this day in Hip Hop history, Queens trio Run-D.M.C. released their third studio album, Raising Hell. Containing some of their most recognizable singles, this project is easily the group’s most critically acclaimed album. This album’s success came in large part from the addition of Rick Rubin to the Run-D.M.C. creative team. Rubin’s love for metal and Hip Hop meshed perfectly with the King of Rock image that had been coined by the group since their debut. Rubin’s production synchronized an authentic heavy metal and rugged Hip Hop sound creating something like never before.
Commercially, the album performed quite well (much like everything else Run-D.M.C. ever released). Across the board critics were hailing this album as one of the best to be put out that year, Hip Hop or otherwise. Comedian Chris Rock has been quoted saying this LP is the “first great rap album”. Public Enemy front man Chuck D has said that Raising Hell is the greatest rap album of all time and is the sole reason why he decided to sign with Def Jam. The album peaked at #6 on the Billboard 200 chart and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop chart. Two of the four singles from this album not only topped charts in their time but forever changed Hip Hop culture to follow. These two tracks, “Walk This Way” and “My Adidas” both expanded the culture in a way that without them, Hip Hop would not be in the forefront of international popular culture today.
“Walk This Way” is a piece of music history. Not only was it the first rap song to ever breakthrough to the top five of the Billboard 100 chart, peaking at #4, but it was also the first mainstream crossover success. Masterminded by Rick Rubin, the track came together almost be accident. After freestyling over tracks from the Toys in the Attic album, Rubin convinced the trio to cover “Walk This Way “after explaining just who Aerosmith was to the rock’n’roll-ignorant rappers. Although neither DJ Run nor Russell Simmons were open to the idea, the group eventually went ahead to make the song and music history.
“My Adidas” was more than a single, it was one of the era’s greatest marketing plugs. Coming at a time just before Hip Hop had it’s own distinct style, “My Adidas” opened the door for low-top shell-toes with fat laces and a matching track suit to become the Hip Hop uniform. The partnership forged between rap culture and Adidas has grown to mold both into what they have become today. Adidas has ever since had more focus on the pop culture lifestyle than any other active footwear brand and has even given some of Hip Hop’s titans, like Pharrell and Kanye West, their own lines.
For every great moment, there’s a song that goes with it. We believe this is the SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE – SOL REPUBLIC.