Today marks the 30th anniversary of the debut album of one of the greatest groups of hip-hop history, Run-DMC. In the infant days of Def Jam, just five years removed from hip-hop's big breakthrough with "Rapper's Delight," Rev Run, Darryl McDaniels and Jam Master Jay delivered a breakthrough album that became one of the most important landmarks of the genre. The accolades are numerous—it ushered in a whole new style of hip-hop, brought the back-and-forth rhyming style of Run and DMC to the forefront, and its single "Rock Box" became the first rap video ever played on MTV in a day when the station was taking a lot of heat for excluding black artists.
Thirty years later, Rev Run's son, Diggy Simmons, is a budding hip-hop star in his own right. After being featured on the cover of the XXL
Freshmen issue in 2011 at the age of just 15, Diggy released his debut offering, Unexpected Arrival
, on Atlantic in 2012, and two years later he's hard at work in the studio on his followup record. Though Diggy wasn't around any time near the release of that album—he was born in 1995, more than ten years after the album dropped—he grew up with Run-DMC's influence all around him. We spoke with the former XXL
Freshman about the first time he heard his dad's music, what he's learned from the group's legacy, and the massive influence that the trio has left on hip-hop. —Dan Rys (@danrys)