The undeniable greatness of Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay continues as the Library of Congress announced that the group’s breakthrough album, Raising Hell, will be added to its National Recording Registry.
News that hip-hop’s first multi-platinum LP would be crowned with this recognition came Wednesday (Mar. 21) when it was revealed that the Hollis Honcho’s album will forever be on display at the Library of Congress. This only adds to the success and cultural significance of Run-DMC’s Raising Hell.
Like the imagery on the album’s lead single, “Walk This Way,” Raising Hell broke musical barriers as Run-DMC teamed up with Aerosmith to create what is credited as the first rap-rock collaboration. Raising Hell’s addition to the National Record Registry makes Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay one of only six rap albums to be in the Library of Congress, placing them in the company of acts like Lauryn Hill, Public Enemy, and NWA.
As well as Run-DMC, the National Recording Registry acknowledged 25 other recordings. Among these is Motown Record’s first number one song, “My Girl” by The Temptations, which co-writer, Smokey Robinson described to the Los Angeles Times as a “dream come true.”
The specific choice by the Library of Congress to preserve Motown’s first crossover single and rap’s first breakthrough as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” recordings speaks not only to the impact of African-American musical expression but also the artform’s consistent growth.