The title track to Run-D.M.C.'s second album, "King of Rock" bubbled under on the Billboard
Hot 100 at #108, marking their first appearance on the chart (their next single, "You Talk Too Much," made it to #107). It's impact, however, was far greater than the meager chart position suggests.
With the first line, the group calls out the Sucker MCs they rapped about on their previous album and declares themselves the "King of Rock." Blondie's "Rapture
" and The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight
" popularized the genre as "rap," but what they were doing was based on disco. Run-D.M.C. considered what they did to be rock, and they were the kings (with a nod to Afrika Bambaataa, who released "Planet Rock
" in 1982). A song on their first album, "Rock Box
," was the first popular song to combine rock guitar with rap. That one featured the session guitarist Eddie Martinez, who also played on "King of Rock."
In an ironic twist, the next year the group's rappers had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a session to record a new version of "Walk This Way
" with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry
of Aerosmith. Even though they had rhymed over the breaks from the song for years, they thought very little of it, with Run calling it "Hillbilly S--t" before producer Rick Rubin and their DJ, Jam Master Jay, convinced them of its merits. The resulting single was wildly successful, hitting #4 in the US and providing the template for future rock/rap collaborations.