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Eminem explains how Run-DMC changed him forever


Eminem has paid homage to many rappers over the years. However, there is one track that the Detroit rapper once said changed him from Marshall Mathers to Eminem. The song impacted the ‘Stan’ hitmaker so much that he even inducted the crew behind it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Below is how Mathers (often called Slim Shady) paid respect to his idols.

Only a few hip-hop groups have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. As of 2023, only Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Public Enemy and N.W.A. have had this honour. However, in 2009 following the release of his album Relapse, Eminem was invited to induct one of his favourite hip-hop acts into the institution, Run-DMC.

Taking to the stage to induct the Queen’s crew, Eminem professed his love for the trio and expressed their profound impact on him as a youngster. “I remember being in ninth grade when Raising Hell came out,” he recalled. “Two years later, I still remember being in ninth grade when Tougher Than Leather came out. I had skipped school, if you can believe that, to go buy Tougher Than Leather on cassette the day it came out.”

Reflecting on the 1988 album, Mathers singled out one particular song that seriously encapsulated him. Highlighting it, the rapper declared, “As soon as I heard ‘Run’s House,’ man, it was pretty much a wrap for me,” he announced. “Marshall Mathers became Eminem. It was the first time Run-DMC had changed my life, but it wouldn’t be the last.”

While inducting Run-DMC into the Hall of Fame, Eminem elaborated on how the Queen’s trio achieved stardom with merely some turntables and a mic and thanked them for inspiring the next generation of rappers by giving them hope. During his speech, Mathers recollected how the group’s music video for ‘King of Rock’ featured an individual telling them they didn’t belong in an institution dedicated to Rock & Roll. “And 25 years later, man, here we are,” Eminem told the crowd, basking in the irony.

The rapper lauded Run-DMC for their audacity and valiance. “They didn’t take no for an answer, much the same way as they didn’t give up when much of the world refused to recognize rap as real music,” Eminem added. “They were the first rock stars of rap. They were the first movie stars of rap. They were the first rap group played on MTV.”

Run-DMC, but undoubtedly ‘Run’s House’ in particular, impacted Eminem in a way that no other song had. But besides Mathers, who loved it, only a minority of people shared his love, as it didn’t even make a brief appearance on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the album on which it appears, Tougher Than Leather, peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for seven months. It was one of the group’s highest-charting albums. You can hear Eminem’s moving speech in the video below for the 2009 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.