Raising Hell in KKKalifornia hell

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Andrew Jacobs here,

Raise your hand if you first heard Aerosmith’s 1975 classic “Walk This Way” via their collaboration on the song with the rap/hip hop group Run DMC in 1986 (and played on this week’s Covers With Attitude show).

*raises hand*

Although I’d been familiar with rap/hip hop music since 1984 (having seen and thoroughly enjoyed the movie Breakin’ when it was released in the theater that year), it wasn’t until two years later when Run DMC took over MTV with their videos for, among other songs, “Walk This Way” and “It’s Tricky” that I actually contemplated going to the record store and purchasing a rap/hip hop record.  And although the very first rap/hip hop record that I ever purchased wound up being the Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill, Run DMC’s Raising Hell was the second.

Raising Hell also has the the distinction of being the first black rap/hip hop record that I ever purchased.  The reason why I feel the need to emphasize this is because for a lily white guy who grew up in ultra-Christian and ultra-conservative Orange County, California (this is back when California was still very much a red state as well), being able to overcome the institutionalized racism that plagued that area of California and not only enjoy but embrace black music was quite a feat.  And even though I’d already purchased records by black artists such as Jimi Hendrix and the Bad Brains a year or two before I’d even heard of Run DMC, Raising Hell was the very first record that I ever heard where black pride was unabashedly mentioned in the songs’ lyrics.

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