In 1986, the hip-hop group Run-DMC collaborated with which rock group for the hit single "Walk This Way?"
And the answer: Aerosmith.
As the story goes, neither Run-DMC nor Aerosmith was enthusiastic about the collaboration. But Run-DMC needed a way to get radio play, and Aerosmith was in need of a come-back. So producer Rick Rubin convinced them to collaborate on Aerosmith's classic song "Walk This Way," and the recording became one of the most popular hits of 1986.
"Walk This Way" is a song that, perhaps, had no reason to happen. However, this genre-bending remake of Aerosmith's 1975 hit made waves in surprisingly palpable ways – it vaulted the rap and hip-hop scene into the mainstream and revived the expiring sounds of Aerosmith.
Rick Rubin of the Def Jam label had a vision: shed visibility on the intelligence and wealth of the nascent genre of rap by mixing a well-known song with some of hip-hop's finest. Rubin, still a young producer, took pains to get his vision seen. He spent weeks settling the collaboration with the teams of both Run-DMC and Aerosmith, yet even then they weren't too sure of the project's success. Each group's preconceived ideas of one another were palpable in the recording booth, and tensions ran high.
However, a record was finally completed. Much to Rubin's excitement, "Walk This Way" made its way onto Run-DMC’s 1986 album and became the No. 89 song on Billboard’s Year-End chart. At the height of its popularity, MTV played the song twice an hour. What's more: Run-DMC gained notoriety in the music community, opening the door to the sounds of rap and hip-hop.
This collaboration continues to have profound effects on mainstream music culture. Listen to the hit below.