The Timeless Classic That Bridged the Gap: Run-D.M.C.'s Iconic Cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way"

In 1987, at the MTV Video Music Awards, something groundbreaking happened. Run-D.M.C., the pioneers of rap, joined forces with rock legends Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith. In this article, we dive into their iconic cover of "Walk This Way" and explore how it transcended the boundaries of genre, mesmerizing listeners and forever changing the music landscape.

The Impactful Fusion on a Legendary Stage

Witnessing the mash-up of rap and rock legends at the MTV Video Music Awards 1987 was a breathtaking moment. Dive deeper into their remarkable performance.

At the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, two seemingly disparate giants in the music industry came together - Run-D.M.C., the pioneers of rap, and Aerosmith, the legendary rockers. Their groundbreaking performance left a lasting impact, symbolizing a groundbreaking merge of genres.

The stage was set for a collision of energy and styles. Run-D.M.C., donned in sleek all-black outfits, intricately weaved their staccato rhythm with relentless precision. In contrast, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were the epitome of rock 'n' roll, oozing swagger as Tyler twirled around in his trademark ostentatious style and Perry unleashed mesmerizing guitar riffs.

In and rows to the groundbreaking groove, they not only bridged a perceived gap between rap and rock but also awakened the world to a new era of musical collaboration. Their performance is etched in history - a defining moment that continues to inspire musicians and fans alike.

Rick Rubin's Effective Formula for Success

The mastermind behind the merging of rap and rock, Rick Rubin's innovative thinking and determination drove the creation of this unforgettable fusion. Discover the inspiration behind his game-changing idea.

The bridge across runaway music tastes

During the late '80s, there existed a vast divide in popular music tastes between hip-hop lovers and those disconnected from the genre. Rick Rubin, known for cultivating fresh sounds in the industry, sought a way to unite different fan bases by creating a musical collaboration that could bridge this gap. He set out to find a compelling track that was already popular in the hip-hop community while still appealing to non-hip-hop enthusiasts.

Rubin's vision was to select a piece of music already regarded with respect within the genre, thereby making hip-hop fans embrace it and non-hip-hop enthusiasts recognize its musical attributes beyond prejudice.

The Evolution of Rap: A Rise Towards Recognition

In the '80s, rap was still finding its voice and foothold in popular music culture. Run-D.M.C. pushed past barriers to redefine the genre's place in the music industry. Be immersed in the early days of rap's evolution.

Running against the stream, Run-D.M.C. emerged as pioneers of rap music and helped carve its path toward mainstream acceptance. In an era fraught with misunderstanding and skepticism toward the genre, they showcased the artistic prowess and creativity embedded in rap culture.

Their successful crossover with Aerosmith's monumental hit 'Walk This Way' was a statement - rap was here to stay and gain the recognition it deserved. Run-D.M.C.'s unique sound, bold fashion sense, and undeniable presence captivated audiences and helped propel the prominence of rap music.

A Testament to the Timeless Classic

Comparing the two versions of 'Walk This Way' - the original by Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C.'s reimagined cover - reveals striking contrasts. Explore the simultaneous universality and adaptability showcased by this iconic song.

An electric rap-rock fusion

Aerosmith released 'Walk This Way' in 1975, quickly making it a classic rock anthem. Run-D.M.C. breathed new life into the track twelve years later with their unapologetic rap-rock fusion.

The stark contrast between the two versions showcases their inherently different styles. While Aerosmith embodied the glam rock heyday of the '70s, Run-D.M.C. brought a new energy to the song with their signature staccato rhymes and rhythmic intensity. The collaboration beautifully demonstrates the versatility and adaptability of this timeless classic, which transcends decades and genres.

Together, Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith performed 'Walk This Way' at the 1987 VMA awards, united by the artistry and love of music. A legendary moment highlighted how ideas that may initially seem far apart can seamlessly merge to create something truly extraordinary.


The iconic cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C. at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards marked a monumental moment in music history. This collaboration shattered barriers between rap and rock, showcasing the power of musical fusion and paving the way for future genre-blending acts. The performance was a testament to the timeless appeal of this classic song and captivated audiences with its electrifying energy.

Run-D.M.C.'s groundbreaking reinvention of "Walk This Way" not only brought rap into the mainstream but also served as a catalyst for blurring the lines between musical styles. This groundbreaking collaboration, sparked by Rick Rubin's brilliant vision, highlighted the beauty of pushing boundaries, encouraging artists to step outside of their comfort zones and creating something truly exceptional.

Decades later, the impact of this unforgettable performance continues to resonate. The fusion of rap and rock embodied by Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. serves as a reminder of the boundless creativity and transformative power of music, making it a timeless and undeniable force.


How did the collaboration between Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith happen?

Rick Rubin, the producer of Run-D.M.C., envisioned creating a musical collaboration that bridged the gap between rap and rock. He selected Aerosmith's hit "Walk This Way" as the foundation for this groundbreaking fusion, bringing together the rap legends and rock icons for an iconic performance at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards.

What impact did the cover have on the music industry?

Run-D.M.C.'s cover of "Walk This Way" revolutionized the music industry by breaking down barriers between genres. It introduced rap to a wider audience and showcased the artistic versatility and adaptability of classic songs. The collaboration opened doors for future genre-blending acts and played a pivotal role in shaping the future of popular music.

Why is "Walk This Way" considered a timeless classic?

"Walk This Way" is considered a timeless classic due to its universal appeal and adaptability across different generations and musical styles. The song's memorable guitar riff, catchy lyrics, and infectious energy have made it an enduring hit that continues to resonate with audiences of all ages.

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