Though rap had been selling records and denting the lower reaches of the Billboard charts since 1979, it can be argued that Run-D.M.C.'s self-titled debut -- which peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard 200 on June 23 -- was the first time that real hip-hop was pressed to vinyl.
Most rap hits until then ("Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang, "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow) were R&B party records with rhymes flowing over them. Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons, who managed Blow and Run-D.M.C., had been frustrated that the former's records "had too much music" and "weren't B-boy enough." So, he and co-producer Larry Smith created a stripped-down aesthetic for Run-D.M.C. using a Roland TR-808 drum machine that emulated the way rappers spit rhymes over break beats in New York parks.