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Before whiteys like Vanilla Ice were saying, "Word to your mutha," or Eminem was apologizing to his mommy and cleaning out his closet, there was Run-DMC: spittin' rhymes at sucker MCs. It was a full-functioning rap group, complete with two MCs and one DJ — the way live hip-hop is supposed to be. The pioneering turntablist, whose real name was Jason Mizell, is remembered worldwide, and locally.

"One of my favorites is "I'm Not Going Out Like That" (from the album Tougher Than Leather) because of the complexity of his mixes and multi-samples. Jam Master Jay really makes it sound smooth," says Chris Smart, lead singer for local band the Mechanical Walking Robot Boy.

"Run-DMC was my first exposure to the backbone of hip-hop — the hip-hop DJ. Without him, I wouldn't have the love I have for hip-hop," says Steve Balser of the Prhymemates, a San Antonio hip-hop organization.

Run-DMC paved the way for other groups like the Beastie Boys (something of a Run-DMC rip-off band, anyway) with its sound and style. It was the only rap group invited to play Live Aid, the first hip-hop group to be embraced by MTV, and its members were the first rappers to have a gold record — nearly 20 years ago. The group even infiltrated the fashion world, years before P. Diddy. Punk band the Dead Milkmen paid homage as they costumed themselves in Run-DMC attire for their "The Thing That Only Eats Hippies" video. "If it wasn't for Run-DMC, none of us would be wearing Adidas," says Chris Klassen, hip-hop buyer for San Antonio mainstay Hogwild Records. And how.

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January 26, 2022

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