Found in 1981, the group Run-DMC is widely hailed as one of the most influential acts in the early history of hip hop music, and one of the pioneers of new school hip hop.

Run-DMC was a driving force in moving hip hop and rap away from club-oriented funk and disco dance music in the 1980s, incorporating more rock elements instead and embracing a less danceble approach.

With hits such as It’s Like That and Peter Piper, Run-DMC brought forward the sparse and hard-hitting beats that would eventually grow into hardcore hip hop. In this regard, they have had a huge impact on East Coast hip hop despite being born and raised in New York City.


  • Run-DMC was the first hip hop group to achieve a gold album (for Run-D.M.C, released in 1984).
  • Run-DMC was the first hip hop group to achieve a platinum record (for King of Rock, released in 1985).
  • Run-DMC was the first hip hop group to achieve a multiplatinum certification (for Raising Hell, released in 1986).
  • Run-DMC was the first hip hop group nominated for a Grammy Award.
  • Run-DMC was the first hip hop group to have their music videos shown by MTV. In 2007, crowned them as The Greatest Hip Hop Group of All Time.
  • Run-DMC was the second hip hop group to appear on American Bandstand. (Sugar Hill Gang was the first, with their appearance in 1981.)
  • Run-DMC was the first rap act to perform at a major arena.
  • Run-DMC was the first rap act with a major product endorsement deal (their deal with Adidas).
  • Run-DMC was the first hip hop group on the cover the RollingStone magazine.
  • Run-DMC was the only hip hop group that performed at Live Aid in 1985.
  • Run-DMC was the first rap act with an album at the Top 10 pop chart.
  • Run-DMC was the first rap act to chart in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 more than once.
  • Run-DMC was the second hip hop group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Run-DMC was founded in Hollis, Queen, New York City by Darryl McDaniels, Jason Mizells and Joseph Simmons.

Name Stage name
Darryl McDaniels D.M.C.
Jason Mizells Jam Master Jay
Joseph Simmons Run


  • 1981 – 2002

Record labels

  • Profile
  • Arista / BMG

The first single

Simmons and McDaniels got to know Mizeel after rapping in front of him in Two-Fifths Park in Hollis. In 1982, when they had completed high school and started college, Simmons and McDaniels convinced Simmons older brother Russell – who was a hip-hop promoter – to let them record as a duo, with Mizell as their official DJ.

Russell demanded that McDaniels used the stage name DMC and wanted to promote the group as Run-D.M.C, a name much hated by the group. But they needed Russells help, and thus agreed to his requests. The group signed with Profle Records and their first single ”It’s Like That / Sucker MCs” was released in late 1983, peaking at No. 15 on the R&B chart.

The first album

Their debut album, the eponymous Run-D.M.C, was released in 1984. With its sparse beats and aggresive rhymes, it was groundbreaking and contrasted sharply against the light funk and disco sounds that dominated the hip hop scene at the time.

It is considered one of the trailblazing albums for the nascent new school of hip hop, a movement characterized by drum machine led minimalism, often incorporating elements from rock. The lyrics often included taunts and socio-political commentary, typically delivered in an aggressive and self-assertive style. New school artists also broke with old school conventions by making shorter tracks, which made them more popular at the radio stations.

One great example is the landmark single ”Rock Box” from this album, where Run-D.M.C fuses raw hiphop with hard rock, paving the way for the rap rock scene of the 1990s.

In 2005, the album was reissued as a ”Deluxe Edition” with four bonus tracks.

Album discography

  • Run-D.M.C. (1984)
  • King of Rock (1985)
  • Raising Hell (1986)
  • Tougher Than Leather (1988)
  • Back from Hell (1990)
  • Down with the King (1993)
  • Crown Royal (2001)