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AEROSMITH’s RUN-DMC Collaboration Nearly Didn’t Happen

Published / Sun 4 Feb 2024

AEROSMITH's RUN-DMC Collaboration Nearly Didn't Happen

Photo: AEROSMITH’s RUN-DMC Collaboration Nearly Didn’t Happen  /  Credit: RUN-DMC

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of the iconic hip-hop group RUN-DMC recently spoke to People magazine about the group’s initial reluctance towards their collaboration with rock band AEROSMITH on the hit “Walk This Way,” a fusion that significantly altered the music scene.

“Walk This Way” originally debuted in 1975 on AEROSMITH’s album “Toys In The Attic.” A decade later, while working on RUN-DMC’s “Raising Hell,” producer Rick Rubin reintroduced the group to this track. Although RUN-DMC had previously used the opening of the song for freestyling, they were unfamiliar with its entirety, including the lyrics, and were unaware of who AEROSMITH was.

Rubin proposed remaking the song, but RUN-DMC was hesitant to release it as a single. To their surprise, after collaborating with AEROSMITH and recording the song, it gained massive airplay across urban and rock radio stations. The new version even surpassed the original in the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 4.

Aerosmith & Run-DMC: Unlikely Bedfellows

McDaniels shared his thoughts with People about this collaboration:

“It was at a time when nobody was branching out of their lane. 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.”

He added:

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“People are scared to get uncomfortable. People are scared to work and think outside of the box because they’re comfortable in that position,” McDaniels reflected on the mindset that almost held back a groundbreaking musical collaboration.

“We didn’t want to do it,” McDaniels recalled about the initial proposal to collaborate with AEROSMITH.

He vividly remembered expressing his concerns to producer Rick Rubin: “Yo, that ain’t hip-hop,” he said, fearing the impact it might have on their career.

“Our thing was, ‘Ain’t nobody going to like this. All the people that like hip-hop is going to be mad at us.’” But the reception surprised them. “We had no idea that everybody from Red Alert to Grandmaster Flash would say, ‘Yo, that’s the coolest thing,’” McDaniels admitted. He further added, “We didn’t know that the black people was going to love it.”

Despite the initial doubts and fears, the collaboration between RUN-DMC and AEROSMITH turned out to be a historic moment in music. It successfully merged hip-hop and rock in an unprecedented way, setting a new benchmark for musical collaborations.

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