Run DMC and Aerosmith

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Aerosmith and Run DMC Starting Rap Rock Genre in the 80s

The late 1990s was the time when rap-metal became mainstream. With Limp Bizkit to Korn following what Rage Against the Machine did to bring angry rock and rap tunes mix, it seemed rap metal is the direction which the rock genre was heading. Some say that the purveyor of rap-rock hybrid music is the politicized Rage Against the Machine, many would agree that it can be traced as early as the 1980s.

Run DMC and Aerosmith

What if the entire genre was just a bad idea from the mid-1980s? Aerosmith during the 1980s was having a hard time as Steven Tyler along with Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry were both having a hard time finding the right music for the era.

On the other hand, hip hop wasn’t really big back then in the 1980s. Underground labels were the most prominent in the hip hop scene. And mixing rock tunes with hip hop back then seemed like an absurd idea.

Enter Rick Rubin into the picture. Rick Rubin today is known as the genius who produced albums including Hello Nasty by the Beastie Boys, Renegades by Rage Against the Machine, and Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to name a few. Over the years, Rick Rubin won 8 Grammies from multiple artists including Adelle.

But during the 1980s, Rick Rubin was still building his name. According to stories, he called Aerosmith manager Tim Collins in 1986 and pitched the idea of Run DMC collaborating with the band to remake the 1970s hit Walk This Way.

To make Aerosmith work with the rap group, they were offered $8,000 a day. However, all it took was one day. And what happened next, as they say, was history. It was an instant classic and it became a party theme song for years to come.

A Great Cross Over

At the end of the day, it was a great cross over that proved one thing—that rock and rap can work. It is also the first rap music that made it in the Billboard’s top 10. It peaked at number 4, which during that time, was unheard of.

Who Benefitted More?

Given the amount of work that Aerosmith produced after Walk This Way collab with Run DMC, we could say that the Boston rock band benefitted more than the young and hip Run DMC of the 80s. It saved Aerosmith’s career. 

Though no one can deny the significance of Run DMC culturally both in hip hop and in rock, Aerosmith became relatable to the 80s kids then. Even during the early 90s, Aerosmith was able to produce songs that became popular including Crazy. And by the late 1990s, amidst the popularity of end of the world themed films such as the Bruce Willis film Armageddon, Aerosmith’s rock ballad I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing reinvented the band. I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing became the OST for the movie, which also starred Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv Tyler.

Aerosmith and Run DMC changed the way we listen to music. Maybe, there are only two types of music: good and bad music. We want to hear more of the latter!

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