July 15, 1986 – 1986 was a pivotal year for Run-DMC. In May, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Rev Run unleashed their third studio album, Raising Hell, which spawned the now-classic singles “My Adidas,” “It’s Tricky,” “You Be Illin and “Walk This Way.”
On July 4, Run-DMC dropped their groundbreaking collaboration with Aerosmith, “Walk This Way,” which marked the first rock-rap hybrid song. The accompanying video literally broke barriers, which DMC recently explained to HipHopDX.
“When Steven Tyler takes the mic stand and knocks down the wall separating us, that didn’t just happen in the video — that happened in the world for real!” he told DX earlier this month.
Roughly two months after its release, Raising Hell became the first Hip Hop album ever to go platinum. By April 1987, the project was certified 3x-platinum by the RIAA. Produced by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin — the brains behind Def Jam Recordings — the album firmly established Run-DMC’s sound.
“Producing Raising Hell was my first time not being heavy handed on my ideas and letting go,” Simmons explains to DX. “With the exception of ‘Walk This Way,’ which was their idea but brought to full potential with Rick’s genius.
“He asked them to take a leap of faith and to actually use the entire song — not just sample the beat. Mostly though, it was us producing their ideas. There were many songs which we did little or nothing for like ‘Peter Piper’ and ‘My Adidas.’ But that album was what Run-DMC had become with Jam Master Jay’s input, the most critical ingredient.”
Raising Hell peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard 200, No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Rap Album category and won Best Rap Album at the 1987 Soul Train Music Awards.
Artista Records reissued the project in 1999 and 2003. An expanded and remastered edition was then released in 2005 and featured five previously unreleased songs.
Last year, Raising Hell was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.”
The album made such an impact, it was the “final push” Chuck D says he needed to ultimately sign with Def Jam. The Public Enemy luminary considers it the greatest rap album of all time.