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Rick Rubin Reflects On His Contributions To 10 Iconic Hip-Hop Albums


Run-D.M.C.—Raising Hell (1986)  

“Because we’d already done the Beasties and the Def Jam singles, there was a rawness about the records we were making that, while Run-D.M.C. records had a rawness compared to everything else, there was still more slick production on their records before [Raising Hell]. So this was the first one in the Def Jam mold of really being stripped-down and really being about the personality of the drum machine. It wasn’t drum machines trying to sound like real drummers, it was drum machines trying to sound like drum machines, and using different drum machines playing off each other. On top of that, Jam Master Jay was an incredible DJ and he would put in the coolest stuff, so it was closer to that that raw hip-hop experience.

“I liked things about all the Run-D.M.C. records. I can remember when I first heard ‘Sucker MCs,’ and how much that meant to me. And the song ‘Jam Master Jay‘ really meant a tremendous amount to me, as a fan. They were my favorite group at the time, and it was my dream to get to work with them, and then I did and it was an unbelievable experience.

“I think one of their breakthroughs was the fact that we did [‘Walk This Way‘] with Aerosmith, because it allowed people who didn’t really understand rap music to hear it in a form that wasn’t so foreign to them, and it helped connect the dots for people who thought that hip-hop wasn’t music.”

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