Run-DMCHip-Hop | 2006
Joseph Simmons of Hollis, Queens—better known as “Run”—is the younger brother of hip-hop legend Russell Simmons. Run and childhood friend Darryl McDaniels began performing at an underage club in Hollis in their teens. While still in college, they brought in a third member, Jason Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay, and in 1983 the trio released their first single, “It’s Like That.” The group became the first rap act to appear on MTV, and their self-titled debut album was the first rap album to become certified gold. Russell Simmons signed his brother’s group to his newly formed label Def Jam Records, and on their first major U.S. tour, Run-DMC set fashion trends by performing in baggy black clothing, lace-less Adidas sneakers, and Fedoras. Mainstream success continued as the group performed at the famous Live Aid concert in 1985. A year later, Run-DMC’s Raising Hell became the highest-selling rap album in history with sales of more than 3 million copies. The album featured a cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” a rap-rock collaboration with Aerosmith that was the first hip-hop track to make Billboard’s Top 10. The group’s three members began pursuing separate careers soon after the album Down with the King in 1993 (that same year, Run became an ordained minister), but they continued to perform and tour together. Run-DMC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.