In the 1980s, when you were into a particular kind of music, you were also signing up to its fashions, slang, and ideas. While the two predominant genres were heavy metal and hip hop, two sides that, perhaps stupidly, were not supposed to mix... And yet, here’s a look back on how this supposedly impossible marriage became a match made in heaven!
RICK RUBIN: THE GREAT WIZARD
If we had to name a priest to officiate at this wedding, it would of course be the producer Rick Rubin. As much a fan of punk rock as he was hip hop, the New-Yorker dreamed up the crazy idea of having the hard rock group Aerosmith collaborate with the rappers of Run DMC. The result was the first ever official union of rock and hop, and became a planetary hit, relaunching the career of Steven Tyler’s band. Spurred on by this successful experiment, Rubin then took a young group by the name of the Beastie Boys under his wing, producing their album, Licensed to Ill, in 1986. It was an album that would go on to become one of the best-selling hip hop albums in the 1980s... made by three white guys from the punk rock scene. With the schoolboy humour of “(You gotta) Fight for your Right (to party)”, the Beastie Boys were never off the screen of the nascent MTV, and their long career had begun in earnest. The second official union would come in 1991, when the thrash metal band, Anthrax, collaborated with hip hop’s Public Enemy. “Bring The Noise” would push what was possible between the genres even further, making use of an ultra-fast beat. Its success led the two bands – with very different audiences – to go on a smash hit tour, and laid the foundations for the fusion style’s success.