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Music / Run–D.M.C.

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Run–D.M.C. were a Hip-Hop group from Hollis, in the Queens borough of New York City. They have been widely acknowledged as The Beatles of hip hop, being one of the greatest rap groups in history. They brought harder, grittier elements into their sound than the other bands of their day. They brought in a street attitude in their style with jeans, sneakers, fedoras, and black leather jackets. Unlike other hip hop groups who sampled funk and disco records, they instead sampled noisy keyboards, industrial sounds, and most prominently rock guitars and drums, paving the way for the Rap Rock movement of the nineties, and becoming the first rap group to go Platinum. They famously collaborated with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith to remake their song "Walk This Way", which was a huge hit, bringing Aerosmith back into popularity, and allowing Run–D.M.C. to gain acceptance with white music fans, when hip hop was previously a "fad" among black people.

The band broke up after Jam-Master Jay was tragically shot and killed at his recording studio on October 30, 2002, sending the hip hop community into shock. The remaining members then went off to pursue solo projects.

Rev. Run's son, Diggy Simmons, has his own music/entertainment career.


  • D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels) - rapper; MC (1981–2002)
  • Rev./DJ Run (Joseph Simmons) - rapper; MC (1981–2002)
  • Jam-Master Jay (Jason Mizell) - DJ; samples; keys; percussion (1981-killed in 2002)


  • Run–D.M.C. (1984)
  • King of Rock (1985)
  • Raising Hell (1986)
  • Tougher Than Leather (1988)
  • Back from Hell (1990)
  • Together Forever: Greatest Hits 1983–1991 (1991)
  • Down with the King (1993)
  • Crown Royal (2001)
  • Greatest Hits (2002)
  • Ultimate Run–D.M.C. (2003)
  • Live at Montreux 2001 (2007)


They star as themselves in Krush Groove (1985), a fictionalized retelling of the founding of Def Jam Recordings. They are also interviewed in the TV documentary Big Fun in the Big Town (1986), at the moment in history when the success of "Walk This Way" broke them to the mainstream.

Tropes associated with Run-D.M.C.:

  • Arc Words: "Sucker MCs," a slang term for unskilled rappers who think that they're better than they really are, get frequently mentioned throughout the group's work, to the point where the term names one of the songs on their debut album.
  • Berserk Button: The group really doesn't like Calvin Klein. Every time they reference it in their songs it's in dismissive terms.
    We bake a little cake with Duncan Hines
    And never wear the pants they call the Calvin Kleins
    'Cause Calvin Klein's no friend of mine
    Don't want nobody's name on my behind
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Said by both guys at the beginning of "You Talk Too Much".
  • Blind Without 'Em: D.M.C even raps about this: "I wear my glasses so I can see."
  • Clothes Make the Legend: They always wore the iconic jeans, sneakers, fedoras, and black leather jackets.
  • Christmas Songs: They recorded two songs for A Very Special Christmas and A Very Special Christmas 2, Christmas themed charity compilation albums that A&M Records put together for the Special Olympics:
    • "Christmas in Hollis." It shows Run telling a story of how he found Santa's wallet, and returned it to him instead of keeping it. Brilliantly, it features in Die Hard.
    But I'd never steal from Santa, 'cause that ain't right
    So I headed home to mail it back to him that night
    But when I got home, I bugged, 'cause under the tree
    Was a letter from Santa that said the dough was for me!
    • "Christmas Is." It shows Run asking for the listeners to share money, gifts, and food with kids from the ghetto and prisoners.
  • Crossover:
    • Aerosmith - "Walk This Way."
    • Various A&M Records Artists - "A Very Special Christmas" and "A Very Special Christmas 2."
    • King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew - "King Holiday."
  • Eating Pet Food: Referenced in "You Be Illin'."
  • Greatest Hits Album: Together Forever: Greatest Hits 1983–1991, Greatest Hits, The Best of Run–D.M.C., and Ultimate Run–D.M.C.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: One verse of "You Be Illin'" deals with a guy who yells "Touchdown!" when a field goal is scored at a basketball game.
  • Hardcore Hip-Hop: The pioneers of the genre along with Boogie Down Productions, and Eric B. & Rakim.
  • Rock-Star Song: "Rock Box," "King of Rock," and "Walk This Way."
    • The entire "Crown Royal" album was kinda an example of this trope. Most notably the song "Rock Show."
    • "It's Tricky" and "Can You Rock It Like This" both examine the stress of fame.
  • Sampling: "It's Tricky", the follow-up to "Walk This Way", sampled "My Sharona" by The Knack.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their 1984 debut.
  • Take That!: The video of "King of Rock" is this to white based rock music history.
  • Wrong Restaurant: The first verse of "You Be Illin'" tells of someone who goes to Kentucky Fried Chicken and orders a Big Mac, McDonald's' signature product.
  • You Talk Too Much!: Said a dozen or so times in their tune of the same name.