Today in Hip Hop History: January 21, 1985
It was 31 years ago today, when legendary hip hop trio Run-D.M.C. released their second studio album, King of Rock, through Profile and Arista Records. The album follows up their breakthrough self-titled album that introduced the world to the (soon to be) classic rap group from Queens, New York. King of Rock featured production form Russell Simmons and Larry Smith as well as outside vocal contributions from Yellowman.
The album portrayed the group moving away from their original aggressive and hard hip hop towards a more rock-heavy sound. The trio mastered the ability to mix both hip hop and rock without diluting either genre nor discarding their street cred or conceding their artistry. Furthermore, the music video for their song “Rock Box” was the first rap video ever to premiere on MTV.
King of Rock peaked at #52 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and #12 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart list. Additionally, the album featured several singles that charted on the U.S. Billboard 100. It became RIAA Certified Platinum in February of 1987, just two years after its release. King of Rock added a solid release to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ discography that forever changed the genre of hip hop.