Run D.M.C., “King of Rock”

Rap and hip-hop were still in their infancy in 1985; indeed, they were considered passing fads by many, the same way the death of rock and roll was predicted when Elvis joined the Army. Once again the naysayers were wrong. One group that helped develop the second wave of hip-hop -- as hip-hop had actually originated in the 1970s, without widespread commercial success -- was Run-D.M.C. It’s been said that the difference between hip-hop and rap is that hip-hop is something that’s lived, while rap is something that’s done, though the lines have become increasingly blurred over the past four decades. Genuine hip-hop generally includes one or more MCs (“mic controllers”) and a turntablist (the DJ), and things like graffiti and break dancing also used to be part of that package. Run-DMC, with MCs Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and DJ/musician Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, added a rock edge to early hip-hop with their single “King of Rock.” From the album of the same name, “King of Rock” helped set the tone for what much of hip-hop and rap would come to focus on lyrically: the artists themselves. Bragging about themselves was pretty much Run-D.M.C.’s premise in…

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