A Brief History of Hip-Hop – Part 4 Rap Becomes Popular

Read The Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Run-DMC signaled the new era. Their music was able to appeal to a very wide audience. Hip-hop moved beyond the ghetto and white fans gravitated toward the music. Run-DMC released three albums; a self-titled one in 1984, King of Rock in 1985, and the ground breaking Raising Hell in 1986. All of these records fused together the street sound of rap with hard guitar sounds of rock. It was a sound that was unique and could not be ignored. They would release several more records over the years but these three are very important in the expansion of the art form.

Run-DMC took a group under their wing. This group borrowed heavily from the success of Run-DMC. They used rock guitars, they traded off vocals, and their songs were quite good. The only difference was that these kids were white. As such The Beastie Boys’ License to Ill hit a wide audience.

Run-DMC wanted to sample an Aerosmith record. Their producers thought that it would be a great idea to redo the entire song. Run-DMC thought that it was a terrible idea but reluctantly agreed to make the record. They shot a video for “Walk this Way,” where they were practicing the song in a studio space. Aerosmith was in the next room and trying to rehearse as well. Run-DMC turned up their music so loud that Steven Tyler took a mic stand and crashed through the wall, and starts signing the hook.

Later in the video, Run-DMC crashes an Aerosmith concert and they do the song together on the stage. It was an amazing video. And it turned out to be Run-DMC’s biggest hit. It also rejuvenated the fledging career of Aerosmith.

Singles started to pour out like crazy. UTFO released Roxanne Roxanne and Roxanne Shante’s countered that with Roxanne’s Revenge. Doug E. Fresh released The Show and La-Di-Da-Di, Kool Moe Dee put out Go See the Doctor .

Groups even started to come out of areas other than New York. The Geto Boys originated in Texas and became instrumental in starting the southern rap movement. It became clear that rap music was here to stay. This was not a fad as some people had called it.

Next up

Part 5 – Graffiti Art