Raising Hell
Raising Hell (Run DMC album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 15, 1986[1]
StudioChung King Studios
LabelProfile, Arista
ProducerRussell Simmons, Rick Rubin
Run–D.M.C. chronology
King of Rock
Raising Hell
Tougher Than Leather
Singles from Raising Hell
  1. "My Adidas"
    Released: May 29, 1986
  2. "Walk This Way"
    Released: July 4, 1986
  3. "You Be Illin'"
    Released: October 21, 1986
  4. "It's Tricky"
    Released: February 8, 1987

Raising Hell is the third album by hip hop group Run-D.M.C. released on May 15, 1986 by Profile Records. The album was produced by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin. Raising Hell became the first Platinum and multi-Platinum hip hop record.[2][3] The album was first certified as Platinum on July 15, 1986, before it was certified as 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on April 24, 1987.[1]

Raising Hell peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart making it the first hip hop record reach atop the latter. The album features four hit singles: "My Adidas", "Walk This Way", "You Be Illin'" and "It's Tricky".[4] "Walk This Way" is the group's most famous single, being a groundbreaking rap rock version of Aerosmith's 1975 song "Walk This Way". It is considered to be the first rap rock collaboration that also brought hip-hop into the mainstream[5] and was the first song by a hip hop act to reach the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100.[6]

Raising Hell has been ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 1987, it was nominated for a Grammy Award.[7] In the same year for this album Run-D.M.C. was nominated for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album at the 1987 Soul Train Music Awards. In 2018, it was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant".[8] The album was reissued by Arista Records in 1999 and 2003. An expanded and remastered edition was released in 2005 and contained 5 previously unreleased songs.


Returning home to Queens in late 1985 after their extensive touring, they soon put themselves on lockdown at Chung King studios in Manhattan for three months. In place of producer Smith, a cocky new maverick was brought in: Rick Rubin. Even though Rubin's and Russell's names were on the production marquee, the two non-group members oversaw and added to the music on Raising Hell more than create it. "Rick and Russell got production credit, but we [the group members] really did everything", DMC states. "We did that album in like three months. It was so quick because every rhyme was written on the road and had been practiced and polished. We knew what we wanted to do. Rick was all music and instruments. Jay was music and DJing. And me and Run was lyrics. We definitely had a game plan."[9]

Raising Hell features the well-known cover "Walk This Way" featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. While the song was not the group's first fusion of rock and hip hop (the group's earlier singles "Rock Box" and "King of Rock" were), it was the first such fusion significantly impacting the charts, becoming the first rap song to crack the top 5 of The Billboard Hot 100. Raising Hell peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B Albums chart as the first hip hop/rap album to do so, and at No. 6 on the Billboard 200.[6]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[10]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[12]
Q5/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[16]
Spin Alternative Record Guide10/10[17]
Uncut4/5 stars[18]
The Village VoiceA−[19]

Raising Hell was voted fifth best album of 1986 in the Pazz & Jop poll of American critics nationwide, published by The Village Voice.[20] Robert Christgau, the poll's creator, wrote in a contemporary review: "Without benefit of a 'Rock Box' or 'King of Rock,' this is [Run–D.M.C.'s] most uncompromising and compelling album, all hard beats and declaiming voices."[19]

In the Los Angeles Times, Richard Cromelin wrote: "If the same old boasts are wearing thin and the misogyny gets grating, the beats are infectious and varied and the vocal trade-offs can be dazzling."[21]

It ranked number 8 among the "Albums of the Year" in NME.[22]

In 1987, the Soul Train Music Award for Best Rap - Single was jointly awarded to Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith for "Walk This Way".[23]

In 1989, the Toronto Star music critics took to look over the albums they had reviewed in the past 10 years to include in a list based on "commercial impact to social import, to strictly musical merit."[24] Raising Hell was placed at number four on the list, describing it as "the record to move rap from the ghetto to the suburbs. Blame it or celebrate it, you can't deny Raising Hell's impact.[24]

In 1998, the album appeared in The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. Q magazine (12/99, p. 162) – 5 stars out of 5 – "... the apex of pre-Public Enemy, beatbox-based hip hop, a monument of massive, crisp beats plus the genre-bending 'Walk This Way'." Vibe (12/99, p. 162) – Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.[25] Uncut (11/03, p. 130) – 4 stars out of 5 – "[An album] that forced the music biz to take rap seriously." Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p. 126) – "[T]he pioneering trio took hip-hop into the upper reaches of the pop charts, introducing mainstream to a new urban thunder: rap rock." AllMusic – 5 stars out of 5 – "... the music was fully realized and thoroughly invigorating, rocking harder and better than any of its rock or rap peers in 1986 ..."

In 2003, the album was ranked number 123 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[26] maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list.[27]It ranked fourth on Chris Rock's list of the Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums of all time, and the comedian called it "the first great rap album ever".[28]

In 2006, the album was chosen by Time as one of the 100 greatest albums.[29] Time named it No. 41 of the 100 best albums of the past fifty years and stated that the album was "rap's first masterpiece".[30]

In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at No. 65 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[31]

Public Enemy's Chuck D considers Raising Hell to be the greatest hip-hop album of all-time, and the reason he chose to sign with Def Jam Records.[32] In Hip Hop Connection, he ranked the album at number one in his top ten (which also included Tougher Than Leather) and said: "It was the first record that made me realise this was an album-oriented genre."[33]

Track listing

1."Peter Piper" 3:25
2."It's Tricky" 3:03
3."My Adidas" 2:47
4."Walk This Way" (featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry)Steven Tyler, Joe Perry5:11
5."Is It Live" 3:07
6."Perfection" 2:52
7."Hit It Run" 3:10
8."Raising Hell" 5:32
9."You Be Illin'"Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, Jason Mizell, Raymond White3:26
10."Dumb Girl" 3:31
11."Son of Byford" 0:27
12."Proud to Be Black" 3:15
Deluxe edition bonus tracks
13."My Adidas" (a cappella) 2:31
14."Walk This Way" (demo)Steven Tyler, Joe Perry5:25
15."Lord of Lyrics" 4:30
16."Raising Hell Radio Tour Spot" 0:52
17."Live at the Apollo Raw Vocal Commercial" 3:28


The GuardianUnited Kingdom100 Albums that Don't Appear in All Other Top 100 Album Lists[34]199945
Record CollectorHip Hop: the American Urban Ghetto Finally Finds its Voice[35]2005-
The New NationTop 100 Albums by Black Artists[36]200596
The Guardian1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die[37]2007-
QUltimate Music Collection[38]2016-
QThe Greatest Albums Of The Last 30 Years... 476 Modern Classics[39]2016-
Rickey VincentUnited StatesFive Star Albums from "FUNK: The MUSIC, the PEOPLE, and the RHY[40]1996-
Rolling StoneThe Essential 200 Rock Records[41]1997-
The Source100 Best Rap Albums[42]1998-
Ego TripHip-Hop's Greatest Albums By Year 1979-85[43]19998
GearThe 100 Greatest Albums of the Century199980
BlenderThe 100 Greatest American Albums of All time[44]200246
PitchforkThe Top 100 Albums of the 1980s[45]200243
Rolling Stone500 Greatest Albums of All Time[46]2003123
SpinTop 100 (+5) Albums of the Last 20 Years[47]200540
TimeTop 100 Albums of All Time[48]2006-
TrebleThe Best Albums of the 80s, by Year[49]20069
Entertainment WeeklyThe 100 Best Albums from 1983 to 2008[50]200838
Tom Moon1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die[51]2008-
Chris Smith101 Albums that Changed Popular Music[52]2009-
SpinThe 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years[53]201038
Robert Dimery1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (Updated 2013)[54]2012-
bLisTerdThe Top 100 Albums Of The 1980s[55]201214
PasteThe 80 Best Albums of the 1980s[56]2012-
SlantThe 100 Best Albums of the 1980s[57]201265
XXL40 Years of Hip-Hop: Top 5 Albums by Year[58]2014-
SpinThe 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985-2014)[59]2015166
The Village VoicePazz & Jop: Top 10 Albums By Year, 1971-2017[60]20185
Pause & PlayAlbums Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Album per Week[61]204

Chart positions


Chart (1986)Peak
US Billboard 200[62]3
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[63]1
Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart[64]50
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[65]32
New Zealand RIANZ Album Chart[66]8
UK Albums Chart[67]41


YearSingleChart positions
US Rap
US Dance
US Dance Sales
1986"My Adidas"5331062
"Walk This Way"486139618
"You Be Illin'"29124442
1987"It's Tricky"5721304716


RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[74]3x Platinum3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also


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  3. ^ Jenkins, Sacha; Wilson, Elliott; Mao, Jeff; Alvarez, Gabe; Rollins, Brent (2014-03-25). First 10 Platinum Rap Albums - Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists (2014) - page 280. ISBN 9781466866973. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  4. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart - Run-D.M.C." officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  5. ^ Price, Simon (2016-07-04). "Walk This Way: how Run-DMC and Aerosmith changed pop (by Simon Price) (July 4, 2016)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
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  8. ^ "National Recording Registry Reaches 500 [MARCH 21, 2018]". loc.gov. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
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External links