Run DMC - Raising Hell


It’s early 1987 and for the last six months, Run-DMC have been belting out a rhyme called ‘My Adidas’ – a standout track from their third album Raising Hell. With his band permanently bedecked in the German sport giant’s apparel, manager Russell Simmons thinks his boys should be getting paid for becoming a walking advertising campaign.

Showing typical entrepreneurial zeal, Simmons invites a couple of senior Adidas executives to a Run-DMC show. The grey men in grey suits initially appear unimpressed by proceedings. Then, when Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels exhorts the crowd to “show us your Adidas” before beginning to rap the intro, 3,000 pairs of trainers are thrust into the air. The Deutsche businessmen now cannot dive for their cheque books quickly enough. Within weeks Run-DMC had signed a $1.6 million deal with Adidas, who had hastily created a line of laceless urban streetwear. The ‘no shoelace’ look was taken from prison rules – inmates were not allowed laces.

It can be argued that while Raising Hell pushed Run-DMC into the music mainstream, it also ensured that – in America at least – rap and hip-hop became central to fashion, sport and youth politics. More than one glass ceiling lay shattered at the trainer-wearing feet of Run-DMC.

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