Run DMC Raising Hell

“I would argue that Raising Hell is one of those records that’s timeless. Yes, it sounds like its time – in the same way that Sergeant Pepper sounds like its time. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to it now and hear what’s exciting about it for its own sake. You don’t have to look at it only as a historical curio. You’re not going to listen to this album and want to hear particularly lacerating social commentary, you’re not coming to it wanting poetry in the way that you’d go and listen to Rakim, you’re not listening for the kinds of things that you’d get elsewhere…
What you get with this Run DMC record is the exuberance and excitement of what it must have been like to be around when hip-hop was being created. That’s the real spring in the step that this record has. It just makes you feel like you’re there almost watching something being born.”
Angus Batey, Author & Music Journalist

It was a genre-bending, pigeon-hole-avoiding, style-mashing, funky-fresh crossover album that defied categorization. The innovative rock-rap, Aeorsmith collaboration Walk This Way took them out of the ghetto and made them international chart sensations. Raising Hell was a pivotal rap album, it changed the game for R’n’B. By the time of its release, Run DMC had already become the first rap band to have a gold album and a Grammy nomination, for their eponymous debut, and the first to earn a platinum disc, for their sophomore record, King of Rock. They were also the only hip hop act to perform at Live Aid. Raising Hell raised the bar yet further and became the first multi-platinum rap album. Run DMC had been founded in 1981 by Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell. Their 3rd studio was produced by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin – and featured the worldwide hits Walk This Way and It’s Tricky. It became the first hip-hop album to gain a 5 star review in Rolling Stone magazine, and was an immediate success – taking hip hop culture from relative obscurity to beginnings of a global phenomenon.

Q gave Raising Hell  5 out of 5 stars. Time magazine called it rap’s first masterpiece and included it in their 100 greatest records of all time. Quite simply… Raising Hell is one of rap’s quintessential albums. It took rap music out of the ghetto and redefined the genre and inspired a collection of rappers and rockers to change the face of contemporary music. The album’s lasting influence is undoubtedly profound.


Ben Herson, founder of hip hop label Nomadic Wax / S-Endz, Rapper with Swami / Angus Batey, Music Journalist / Zane Lowe, BBC Presenter / Pogus Caesar, Filmmaker and photographer / Presenter; Ian Camfield / Assistant Producer, Oliver Carter / Exec. Producers; Andy Ashton, Mike Walsh