Run-D.M.C’s ‘Walk This Way’ and the Resurgence of Aerosmith

by Barbara

In the annals of music history, there are transformative moments that reshape entire genres and bring together artists from seemingly disparate worlds. Run-D.M.C’s iconic collaboration with rock band Aerosmith on “Walk This Way” is undeniably one of those pivotal moments. This groundbreaking fusion not only propelled hip-hop into the mainstream but also rejuvenated Aerosmith’s career, making them cool again in the eyes of a new generation.

Crossing Boundaries: The Birth of a Crossover

“Walk This Way” was more than a song; it was a seismic shift that blurred the lines between hip-hop and rock, two genres that had previously inhabited separate spheres. Run-D.M.C’s cover of Aerosmith’s classic rock track wasn’t just a mere reimagining; it was a collision of cultures, breaking down barriers that had long confined music to predefined categories. The synergy of Run-D.M.C’s rhymes and Aerosmith’s riffs was a watershed moment that signaled the dawn of a new musical era.

Aerosmith’s Resurgence: From Rock Royalty to Reinvention

Prior to the collaboration, Aerosmith was no stranger to success, having established themselves as rock legends in the 1970s. However, by the mid-1980s, the band had experienced a decline in popularity. Enter Run-D.M.C’s version of “Walk This Way.” The revamped track not only reinvigorated the song itself but also injected new life into Aerosmith’s career. Their resurgence was solidified by the accompanying music video, which seamlessly blended the energy of both genres and introduced them to a younger, more diverse audience.

Bringing Hip-Hop to the Mainstream: Crossover Success

The collaboration between Run-D.M.C and Aerosmith was a pivotal moment in bringing hip-hop to the masses. With its infectious beat and innovative combination of rap and rock, “Walk This Way” transcended genre boundaries. The song’s chart-topping success signaled a turning point, as hip-hop began to permeate the mainstream consciousness, laying the groundwork for the genre’s future domination of the music industry.

A Cultural Exchange: Mutual Respect and Reinvention

The magic of “Walk This Way” lay not only in its musical fusion but also in the mutual respect and admiration between the two groups. Run-D.M.C’s reverence for Aerosmith’s original track was palpable, and Aerosmith’s openness to collaboration demonstrated a willingness to embrace change and innovation. The partnership showcased the power of artists coming together to create something that transcends their individual styles, proving that music knows no boundaries.

The Music Video Revolution: Visualizing Fusion

The music video for “Walk This Way” further solidified its impact, providing a visual representation of the fusion between hip-hop and rock. Directed by Jon Small, the video captured the essence of both genres, featuring scenes of Run-D.M.C navigating through Aerosmith’s rock-infused world. The video not only showcased the collaborative nature of the song but also paved the way for a new era of visually innovative music videos.

Cultural Permeation: Influence Beyond Music

“Walk This Way” not only transformed the music landscape but also had a lasting impact on culture. The song’s crossover appeal shattered stereotypes and united fans from diverse backgrounds. Its influence extended beyond music, seeping into fashion, language, and even dance. The track’s universal appeal became a symbol of unity and a testament to the transcendent power of artistic collaboration.

Legacy and Enduring Impact

Decades after its release, “Walk This Way” continues to resonate. Its legacy is evident in the countless collaborations that have followed, with artists from various genres recognizing the potential of musical fusion. The song’s influence can also be felt in the genre-blurring nature of contemporary music, where artists freely incorporate elements from different styles to create innovative soundscapes.


The synergy of Run-D.M.C and Aerosmith on “Walk This Way” was a groundbreaking moment that transcended musical genres and boundaries. It revitalized Aerosmith’s career, introduced hip-hop to the mainstream, and paved the way for a new era of musical fusion. The collaboration’s enduring impact serves as a reminder of the power of artists to innovate, inspire, and bring about cultural change. “Walk This Way” remains a timeless testament to the magic that happens when creative forces converge, leaving an indelible mark on the tapestry of music history.

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