In 1983 three close friends gathered in Queens, New York, and founded one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time. Run-DMC would go on to not only define a genre but an entire generation, setting the foundations for hip hop’s huge expansion into the mainstream.
Pioneered by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell, Run-DMC was born and, in a fast and furious rise to fame, one of the most famous hip hop acts of all time was dominating the 1980s.
With an unbinding ambition to pioneer their take on the genre, the group released their debut album, Run–D.M.C., in 1984 and became first hip hop group to achieve a Gold record, showcasing to swathe of the nation that a new genre was born and about to dominate. With the success came international fame and critical acclaim.
Run-DMC, pushing their blend of harder and more aggressive style of hip hop with the lighter sounds of the time, didn’t hold back on the message they were trying to send out. Their authenticity made them instantly relatable and, with their musical approach came their own unique fashion style which would set the touchstone for the future of hip hop. “There were guys that wore hats like those and sneakers with no shoestrings,” the band recalled about their early days.
They added: “It was a very street thing to wear, extremely rough. They couldn’t wear shoelaces in jail and we took it as a fashion statement. The reason they couldn’t have shoelaces in jail was that they might hang themselves. That’s why DMC says ‘My Adidas only bring good news and they are not used as felon shoes.’”
As their fame began to blow up so did album and ticket sales. With an unprecedented demand, Run-DMC began selling out local venues at an unattainable speed.
Incredibly, within 12 months of forming, the band had released a hit record, sold-out local shows, set a new fashion trend and booked a major performance at the infamous New York City rock club The Ritz as part of a high profile MTV appearance.
The venue, well known for hosting the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode and more, was filled to the brim for fans desperate to catch a glimpse of hip hops hottest new property. With Jam Master Jay opening the concert, a young LL Cool J in the crowd watching on in his Kangol hat, Run-DMC arrived to the stage and delivered a now-iconic live set.
See the rare footage, below.