HomeaflRun-DMC Thought "Walk This Way" Would "Ruin" Their Career

Run-DMC Thought “Walk This Way” Would “Ruin” Their Career

Run-DMC’s collaboration with Aerosmith on “Walk This Way” marked a breakthrough moment in music, bringing together hip-hop and rock on an iconic track and equally legendary music video. However, as Darryl “DMC” McDaniels explains in a new interview, the rap group feared that the revolutionary single would “ruin” their career.

“Walk This Way” had already been a hit for Aerosmith in the 1970s, reaching No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Producer Rick Rubin suggested that Run-DMC cover the song for their 1986 album Raising Hell, even enlisting Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to perform on the track. It ended up becoming a worldwide smash, hitting No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, but may have never seen the light of day had Run-DMC stuck to their gut feeling.

“It was at a time when nobody was branching out of their lane,” DMC told People. “So when we first did ‘Walk This Way,’ the perception was everybody in hip-hop is going to hate this because people are scared to do something new. People are scared to get uncomfortable. People are scared to work and think outside of the box because they’re comfortable in that position.”

DMC went on to say that he, Reverend Run, and the late Jam Master Jay were all against the track initially, telling Rubin, “Yo, that ain’t hip-hop.”

He continued, “We thought it was going to ruin our careers. Our thing was, ‘Ain’t nobody going to like this. All the people that like hip-hop is going to be mad at us.’ We had no idea that everybody from Red Alert to Grandmaster Flash would say, ‘Yo, that’s the coolest thing. We didn’t know that the Black people was going to love it.”

DMC said he learned a valuable lesson from the experience, remarking, “When I speak to young kids, I tell them this: ‘Always be open to try something different because not only will it change your life, it could change the world.’ And that’s exactly what the ‘Walk This Way’ record did.”

Not only did the track help Run-DMC reach a wider audience, it revitalized Aerosmith’s career. The band had been in a bit of a rut in the ’80s until the iconic video hit MTV and brought them back into the spotlight.

As Tyler told People back in 2020, “The whole idea was to show that rock ‘n’ roll and rap could live together. It was a giant step outside anybody’s mind at MTV. That video was the whole thing. For us to be involved in that was just a miracle. It was without a doubt the second step of our career.”

Watch the groundbreaking video for “Walk This Way” below.

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