Reprinted from a 1994 edition of The 411:
It was only a matter of time before we spotlighted this trio of rap pioneers in The 411's Hip-Hop Classic. The only question was which album to pick. Run, DMC and Jam Master Jay's early work on their self-titled debut and King of Rock deserve some credit. Tougher Than Leather had "Run's House" and a lot of other great cuts on it. Back From Hell witnessed a change in style (both musically and fashion-wise) for the group, and even though some critics say that they fell off on this album, it still had its good points. Or, we could have taken the easy route and picked Together Forever, their greatest hits album.
But by far, their most groundbreaking album to date in Raising Hell. This album put hip-hop on the map in popular music and introduced it to a much larger audience. In fact, Raising Hell became rap's first multi-platinum album, selling over 3 million copies.
A lot of this was due to the popularity of the first single they released off the album, "Walk This Way," a rap version of the Aerosmith song of the same name. Lead singer Steven Tyler was featured in the video and its rock music allowed it to cross over to fans of other types of music. (Run DMC could probably also be considered at least partially responsible for re-igniting Aerosmith's career.) This song gained them nationwide recognition and landed them on the cover of Rolling Stone, the first time ever for a rap group. Run DMC became known for their rapping over guitars and rock music, with songs like "It's Tricky" and the title track following that format. However, that's not all they did on this album. "Dumb Girl" has a deep bass line, and a humorous tone that is also very evident in "You Be Illin'." "Hit It Run" had two of the early elements of rap that are often lost in today's overly sampled hip-hop world -- scratching and beat-boxing. Finally, "My Adidas" catapulted them into the international marketplace when the shoe company gave them their own line of shoes that came in four different styles.
The popularity Run DMC gained from this album continued on for quite some time, and included starring in the feature film "Tougher Than Leather" and hosting the first-ever episode of "Yo! MTV Raps."
Run DMC brought rap to the forefront of music, introduced it to the mainstream and established it as a real part of the music world, not just some fad.