Rap Goes Platinum with Run-D.M.C.’s Raising Hell (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: Run-D.M.C. confirmed rap’s place in multicultural pop music when its album Raising Hell sold more than one million copies.
Summary of Event
Rap music originated in the inner cities of America as a new voice for the frustration and hopelessness of ghetto life. A continuation of African-American musical culture, rap drew from oral traditions and the rhythmic drumming and syncopation of black music. It was also influenced by the Jamaican “sound system” disc jockeys of the 1960’s and the political jazz of Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets. Emerging in New York City during the mid-1970’s, early rap was performed almost exclusively for black audiences in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the South Bronx. Rap remained a predominantly race- and class-specific form of expression until 1986, when two young rappers known as Run-D.M.C. released the album Raising Hell. This platinum hit crossed cultural boundaries and firmly established rap as part of popular music.
Raising Hell combined metallic rock, rhythm and blues, and rap into a popular mixture that jumped up the charts to number three. The album included a collaboration with the heavy metal band Aerosmith on a remake of its classic “Walk This Way,” also released as a music video that received heavy play on the Music Television (MTV) network. “Walk This Way” was the first rap hit to cross over the racial...
(The entire section is 2330 words.)
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