Run–D.M.C.'s third single, this was the first high-profile rap song to incorporate rock guitar, which boosted its appeal to white listeners the same way "Beat It
," with an Eddie Van Halen solo, expanded Michael Jackson's fan base. The guitar part wasn't a sample - it was played by Eddie Martinez, who was a session player most notable for his work with Blondie.
The writing credit on the song went to the three members of Run–D.M.C. (each 19 years old when the album was released), but Martinez got a production credit.
Run–D.M.C.'s DJ, Jam Master Jay, was known to loop riffs from Rock albums for Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels to rap over. One of his favorites from the riff from Aerosmith's "Walk This Way
," which they recorded in 1986 with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry
in the first hit rock/rap collaboration.