Behind The Vinyl – “Walk This Way” with D.M.C. from RUN D.M.C.

Behind The Vinyl – “Walk This Way” with D.M.C. from RUN D.M.C.

Oh I forgot it does that! “Walk This Way” was crazy because it was probably the 8th record on the album that we started to record, and originally, me and Run were going to sample it and rhyme over it because it was one of our favourite breakbeats to rap over. Oh we didn’t do “Walk This Way” to be rockstars, we didn’t do “Walk This Way” to change music. Everything that “Walk This Way” did it wasn’t the intent, it was one of the dopest breakbeats ever; matter of fact, it was on a hip-hop
breakbeat compilation. We was in the studio and we was going to sample it and we was gonna loop it and me and Run was gonna talk about how good we are: “I’m DMC, in the place to be. The best MC in history.” “Been rhyming on the mic since ’83, there will never be a MC better than me.” And Run would go, “I’m DJ Run and I’m number one,” whatever, whatever,
whatever. So we was in the studio, getting ready to sample it and steal their record, Rick Rubin, producer extraordinaire – who was working with us at the time on the
“Raisin’ Hell” album – he walks into the studio, he goes, “Hey guys, what’s up?” We say, “Yo just getting ready to make this record.” and Rick goes, “Oh, you know what?” “That’s Aerosmith, do you know who those guys are?” And we was like, “What are you talking about?” He wanted to give us the 411 on
Aerosmith, Me and Run didn’t even know the name of the record was called “Walk This Way” cus we used to tell the DJs, like Jam Master Jay, “Yo get out ‘Toys In The Attic’ ” – we knew that was the name of the album – “And play number 4.” And it’s crazy that number 4, it’s number 4 on our album To make a long story short, Rick was like, “Y’all should do to record
over.” Now me and Run, we was thinking from a limited hip-hop perspective, We gonna sample it and we gonna rhyme and talk about how good we are, but then Rick goes, “No, you should do the record over the way the band originally did it.” Jam Master Jay, rest in peace, Jay goes, “Yo, that beat is a sick idea.” Me and Run was like, “Hold up, hold up! Wait, wait, wait!” “Y’all taking this rock-rap stuff too far.” cus people forget, this is gonna be a tongue twister: “Walk This Way” wasn’t the first rock-
rap record, the first rock-rap record was “Rock Box”, which was the first rap video on
MTV – that was a rock song with me and Run rhyming. Then me and Run had the balls to
do “King Of Rock”, talking about the kings of Rock – which was on the second album – where Larry Bud Melman from the
David Letterman Show telling us, “You guys can’t come in here, this is a rock-n-roll museum!” So me and Run wanted to carry on that tradition: make a rock song or talk about how good we are. Rick took the record off, he took it off the turntable and said, “Take Aerosmith’s ‘Toys In The Attic’ to the basement,” “take out a pen and paper and
sit there and write the words down so we can learn the words.” Cus me and Run had never heard the singing. Why? Jam Master Jay, Grand Master Flash, Theodore would never let the record play that far because as soon as the guitars went “NNNN NNN N”, back to the front, so me and Run had never heard the singing on the record. So we go to my basement, – true story – we put the needle on number 4 on Aerosmith, we take out a pen and pad, and we sit there and we was gonna let the record play. It said, (beat-boxing “Walk This Way” intro and riff) And me and Run sitting there in anticipation, waiting to know what was coming… (beat-boxing “Walk This Way” riff) Then you hear Steven [Tyler], “Backstroke lover always hidin’ ‘neath the cover…” Me and Run get on the phone, “Oh hell no!” “We ain’t making this! This is country bumpkin music, this is hillbilly jibberish!” “Y’all are trying to ruin our careers! Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five and Afrika Bambaataa ain’t gonna like this.” “We are not doing these lyrics cus it just sounded… cus y’all don’t understand. It was the first time hearing the singing on “Walk This Way” that we didn’t even know the record was called “Walk This Way” So we on the phone, “Aw hell no, we ain’t doing it.” Russell [Simmons] screaming, “Joey [Rev. Run] you m’er f’er, m’er f’er, m’er f’er!” “M’er f’er this and A-word that and B–word this and m’er f’er this; put D [D.M.C.] on the phone!” “D you’re an m’er f’ing ass followin’ this…” He’s screaming, I hung up the phone. So me and Run sat in my basement, true story, for six hours. The phone was ringing, we know it was Russell and Jay, you know. If this is Run, I’m going, “You pick it up.” He’s telling me, “No you pick it up.” “You pick it up.” For six hours, “Pick it up.” So we duck them for a whole week, a whole week goes by, Jay calls. “Oh that’s Jay.” “Yo Jay, what’s up?” True story, you still hear Russell in the background screaming, “M’er f’er this!” and Jay goes, “Russell stop screaming at them, you know they just stupid little kids.” “If you keep screaming at them they never gonna come to the studio.” So Jay, he’s using psychology, he says, “Yo listen to this.” Holds the phone up, me and Run go, “Yo Jay, what’s up? Where y’all at?” Jay go, “Yo, we at the studio. Rick
done went to Boston and brought Steven Tyler and Joe Perry here to the studio,” “And Stephen and them here are busting your ass.” So me and Joe, we just kids, (hysterical screaming) “Calm down guys.” “No Jay seriously!” We crying and stuff like that and Russell is still screaming, and Jay says this, “Yo yo yo, here’s what you do.” “Just come to the studio.” “Come to the studio and lay the vocals down.” “That’s all you gotta do. Steve is
gonna recreate his, Joe Perry’s go play.” So make a long story short, we get to the studio. We walk in the studio, first thing we do, we walk into the studio and it’s like reality; oh shoot. And this is funny, I love Stephen Tyler. We walk in – and me and Joe don’t know no better – “Oh shoot, The Rolling Stones is in here.” And Stephen goes, “No, no we’re not The Rolling Stones, that’s the other group.” So that kinda broke the ice and whatever, whatever. So, originally, we walked in there and Jay was like, “Did you write the lyrics down?” We wrote them down to the best of our ability If you listen to their version and you listened to our version, I think there’s two different words that we messed up here and there. He [Stephen] says, “Hey ditty ditty with a kitty in the middle,” talking about the… the puss? And we go, “Hey diddle diddle with a titty in the middle.” And then there’s another word that we missed by, you know, cus we didn’t know cus we was listening to them. There was no technology, there was no computers and iPhones for us to have play the record and have it dictate by the computer. So we go in there, and originally me and Run did the record like this cus we did not want to do the record. Jay was like, “Go in there and put the lyrics down.” So Joe went in by himself first, “Put the music on.” “Backstroke lover always hidin’ ‘neath the covers
till I talked to your daddy, he say” “Ain’t seen nothing til you’re down…” he did his part, he got out and I went in there. “Put the damn music on.” “Seesaw swingin’ with the…”we were like little stubborn kids, “Seesaw swingin’ with the boys in the school” So we come out of the booth and Jay’s waiting there like this And we were like, “What? What?” So he was like, “Yo y’all get in there and put the lyrics down man,” and then we crying again. “Ya Jay but this is our record and this is hillbilly jibberish.” And he’s like, “Calm down.” He said, “Don’t do the record the way Stephen said it,” “Huh? What you talking about?” “Do the record the way Run-DMC would do it.” “Switch offs, ad libs, come over each other; do that Run-DMC delivery.” So me and Run go in there and that’s what y’all hear today. When Stephen heard that, cus Stephen comes on that last verse he was like, “Yo, I love that energy!” “When I do my verse at the end,” cus Stephen was doing all the choruses, but he took the fourth verse, he said, “When I do my verse at the end, can you do that hip-hop rap thing that you all do on my verse too?” That’s fun, Stephen’s verse is the “seesaw SWINGIN’ ” we come over Stephen like that. And on top of that, while we at the studio Stephen wanted to rap. He had Jay teach him how to DJ. He was like, “What are you doing?” Jay taught Stephen Tyler how to DJ, and the funny thing is when Jay was mixed in with the original version of “Walk This Way” Stephen kept saying to Jay, “When do you hear me singing?” Jay said, “Ahhh, wise one.” “You’ve noticed. That never happens
when we do your records.” Stephen was like, “Wait up, what?” “Cus if you was singing Stephen, we can’t rap over you singing in.” If we’re rapping over you singing, you don’t hear us rapping. Then if we’re rapping over your singing, they don’t hear you singing.” Then Stephen was like, “Okay I get it.” So that day Stephen Tyler learned how to MC and DJ, and then that day me and Run learned something valuable. Remember we didn’t want to do the record. Now when I go to high schools and middle schools and I speak to the kids always tell the kids this: Always be open to try something new, because it might not just only change your life it could change the world. People tell me when Steven
Tyler took that mic stand and knocked down that wall in the “Walk This Way” video, that didn’t just happen in the video, that happened in real life. It’s to the point where they may not
even know who wrote the song or recorded the song originally, the song is almost…that’s when it becomes a folk song. You say, “We’re not gonna take it,” and people will know to answer, “No, we
ain’t gonna take it.” That’s the response. “Did everything work out?” I’m not gonna do a Ringo impression because I’ve done too many bad ones before, but he said, “Did everything work
out from the other day I heard you having a big disagreement in here and I
thought it was sounding great.” I said, “What was that about?” And he said, “You kept going on about the bloody cow bells.”

100 thoughts on “Behind The Vinyl – “Walk This Way” with D.M.C. from RUN D.M.C.

  1. Backstory, sick beat, crossover genres, and great video never forget busting through the wall. That song has so many layers of its existence, great piece of history for music.

  2. I appreciate the honesty. "We was going to sample it, steal it"..Yup, that's what all of the Rappers back in the day did. They can't sing, they can't write, they can't play an instrument but they sure could steal other peoples stuff and talk over it and make millions.

  3. Dmc is great . I hope by some small miracle I get to meet him some day. Iโ€™m a 43 year old white guy who listens to metal but ill always be down with the Kings . This song actually introduced me to rock n roll so they were my heroโ€™s first .

  4. I want him to make videos telling fairy tales. That was fantastic. That was my jam back in the day, too.

  5. It's funny how songs that ppl make or don't want to do they turn out to be classics and very popular๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

  6. "
    Thanks for mentioning Rock Box.. the. first rap video on MTV, which I produced, directed and edited. I was privileged to work with the ground breaking group.

  7. What a great emmer effing story.
    I haven't heard the song in 30+ years. I guess I'm due. Google. Play Walk This Way by Run DMC.

  8. What really frustrates me is that stations here to the San Francisco Bay Area like KFOX that play classic rock will play Aerosmith Walk This Way and completely ignore your guys's great contribution to the song!! I call the station every time and tell them to play the one that has you guys in it!!

  9. Great story… Funny thing I never noticed… I have a friend from the Bronx… Damn talks just like it…. Now I know why my friend never shuts the fuck up… It's in their NY blood to keep talking non stop.. This BTV is more enjoyable than all the rock ones I've seen…except for Rush's Alex Lifeson because he's so cool to me.

  10. And from that craziness, a trillion dollar industry was born and completely utterly altered the entire nations cultural entertainment landscape. Crazy how something argued against, a flash of an idea can literally change an entire industry. Just one song, redone with a different cultural take completely infuses a mainstream culture so vibrantly with another culture that was always there. Love stories like that.

  11. Without rock n roll music in America, the integration of white and black cultures likely would have taken longer to happen than they actually did. I was a teen when this revolution took place, it shook the music scene for sure.

  12. Man alive, can you imagine having DMC coming to speak at your school or college, whatever. That would be some kind of speech worth listening to. Great insight into making the record.

  13. DJ at this era.
    Raisin Hell comes out. End cap display at 12 Inch Dance Records in DC. 20 fresh copies.
    Heard Rock Box, played video of King of Rock. Hope this one is as good.
    Take it to the club at 7pm slit the poly, put it on and see what I can use.
    Peter Piper. Fresh usable. Great bells. Good sequel time to…
    Next. It's tricky. Ok poppy with rock sample.
    My Adidas. Ok. Tight segue to…whats the title?
    Could it be the Aerosmith tune..nah Scratching…Joe Perry sample….AND RUN AND DMC THEN BEGIN TO RAP WTW AND MY HEAD EXPLODES.
    Still remember where I was standing 8 feet in front of the booth as bartenders set up.
    Holy Crap this is brilliant!
    I turn to the manager and say:
    "That's it. That's the song."
    Played the first 4 tracks in a row that Thursday night. 12 people danced all way thru. Just let it play.
    Next night threw walk this way into set at 1215 and crowd goes nuts.
    That was 1986 and that's how the merging of rock and rap took over mainstream culture.

  14. This is why rap is such a fraud. This guy is about to rip off a band (that had been huge) and he had no idea who they were, or even the name of the song they were planning to steal. It's not some romantic idea about rappers "refashioning music to suit their own interpretation". It's simple theft. I never liked their version of the song very much. The video was amusing, though. He does seem like a nice enough fellow, but I detest rap and it's entire theft ethos and the musical illiteracy that surrounds it.
    The true revelation of this video is that basically, Steven Tyler learned everything about how to do rap in a single. afternoon.

  15. didn't realise there was so much drama attached to this iconic collaboration, it explains the music video though lol

  16. This video make me think that some people know where real rock music came from, Yea it is from the 1920s early blues..

  17. I'm bi-racial but I grew up immersed in African-American culture and an African-American community. I'd say until about the age of 13 or so I knew nothing about rock, heavy metal etc. I was listening to Kool and the Gang, Cameo, Howard Hewitt, Earth, Wind & Fire, New Edition etc. Then this video hit on MTV and Aerosmith blew me away (I was already well acquainted with RUN D.M.C.). After that I started buying up Van Halen albums, Quiet Riot, Dokken, RATT, Motley Crue… of course, by the late 80s I was back into mellower stuff like R.E.M., U2, Tracy Chapman, The B-52s. But for a minute there I was the blackest head banger in da Hood yo.

  18. I remember when I first saw the video I had no idea who Aerosmith was. Both groups got a huge boost from this. Especially Aerosmith for their "comeback"

  19. It happened in real life. It happened to me! September. 1985. Lilly-white from the burbs goes to college in NY where they flipped the script and reversed the demographics and expanded my little world. During the following two years, I learned way more in the dorms and in the hallways than I did in the classrooms..
    โ€œWalk This Wayโ€ was the pop-culture benchmark that started a societal transformation.
    But for me, WTW was the exclamation point and the end of the sentence that described my personal growth. And I made some great friends along the way!

  20. Thank you very much for the gift RUN DMC , be blessed and only the best !

    Owsome story, funtastic storytelling, thank you one more time.

  21. Man, that is so cool! I was a White kid in Baltimore City Schools at the time of your first stuff and listening to the folks you were talking about on AM radio. I was so surprised when you guys were at The Beastie Boys show at Capital Centre just outside of Washington DC with the man from Aerosmith! I missed the opening band because the car next to us had their beer taken by cops on HORSES! They ask if we're able to sell them some of our beer and the next thing we knew we were getting our beer taken by cops on HORSES! You'd think that you'd hear that clip-clop, but no! I'm thinking that I was getting arrested, but they just wanted to jack us up! Do you remember Nirvana used to be showing folks on their bus a video from this venue called "Heavy Metal Parking Lot?" A bunch of suburban kids in the lot in DC101 tee shirts waiting for Judas Priest and Dokken. I was there too! Crazy! Sorry for your loss!

  22. Is there an extended interview version of this? Great hearing the history of the track and how it came together. Broke the boundaries down between rock and rap.

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