The kings of the New York hip-hop scene in the 1980s Run DMC was founded in 1981 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels (Easy D), and Jason Mizell (aka Jam-Master Jay). After signing with Profile Records in 1983, the group released their self-titled album in 1984. Hit singles included “Hard Times” and “Jam-Master Jay” and fueled the rap subculture of the 1990s.
The artists were known for their street-wise fashion style, wearing unlaced Adidas shoes, Kangol hats, thick chains, and leather jackets. They were signed to Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records alongside the Beastie Boys, Sheila E., and New Edition – all rising stars in the rap world. Run DMC and rock band Aerosmith teamed up on “Walk This Way,” a cover of an Aerosmith classic – and the song hit number four on the Top 100, cementing Run DMC's crossover to popular culture.