Rapper Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels recalled why Run-D.M.C. didn’t want to collaborate with Aerosmith on the 1986 hit crossover single “Walk This Way,” saying his band was convinced it would flop.

The track – based on Aerosmith’s song of the same name from 1975’s Toys in the Attic – was the first mainstream example of rock and rap artists working together, with each genre finding new fans among people who hadn’t previously investigated its offerings.

“It was at a time when nobody was branching out of their lane,” McDaniels told People in a recent interview that ties in with new documentary Kings From Queens: The Run D.M.C. Story, available on Peacock. “So when we first did ‘Walk This Way’ the perception was everybody in hip-hop is going to hate this.”

He added: “People are scared to get uncomfortable. People are scared to work and think outside of the box because they’re comfortable in that position.”

When producer Rick Rubin suggested the collaboration, McDaniels said, his reaction was: “Yo, that ain’t hip-hop… We thought it was going to ruin our careers. Our thing was, … ‘All the people that like hip-hop is going to be mad at us.’ We had no idea that everybody … would say, ‘Yo, that’s the coolest thing. We didn’t know that the black people was going to love it.”

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He added that the success of “Walk This Way” provided a valuable lesson. “When I speak to young kids, I tell them this – ‘Always be open to try something different, because not only will it change your life, it could change the world.’

“The very thing that we thought was going to ruin us turned out to be something that improved us.”

Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C., "Walk This Way"

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