"They were the first rap group that really mattered," -- writer Frank Owen on Run-DMC.

Members of Run-DM C pose for the camera, donning their traditional black and gold.

Daryl McDaniels, founder of the rap group Run-DMC is a hero to many inner city rappers because his innovative sound hurtled rap from the streets into mainstream American culture.

"They were the first rap group that really mattered," said writer Frank Owen in New York Newsday.

Run-DMC was responsible for almost every first in rap music-the first group to earn gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums, the first to appear on "American Bandstand" and "Saturday Night Live" and the first rap group to appear on the covers of Rolling Stone and Spin.

The group's hits rock-rap fusion single "Rock Box" spawned the first rap video every aired on MTV. The video has Run-DMC crashing through the walls of a rehearsal studio that separates it from the noisy rock band practicing next door-a metaphor for the crumbling of the walls separating black and white youth culture that Run-DMC helped to initiate.

In 1986, Run-DMC released its breakthrough album, Raising Hell, which soared to No. 3 on the Billboard Pop Chart and remained on the chart for 71 weeks. The group's success convinced the music industry that rap was a viable commercial product.

Run-DMC's rock-rap fusion style and avoidance of "gansta rap" catalyzed the cross-over of rap from the "old school era", when many rappers were limited to performing on the streets and in clubs, to rap's current chart-topping status in the mainstream music industry.

"We came up with something raw," said McDaniels in an interview in Pantagraph. "We didn't just say it's bad in the 'hood. We said it's good and bad, so be cool and go to school."

Run-DMC was responsible for the "hip-hop-ification of popular culture," said rap historian Bill Adler. "In addition to their musical milestones, they have been responsible for the introduction of new dances, new fashions, new language, new energy."

Run-DMC exposed rap for the first time to suburban ears, breaking down doors for inner-city rappers and paving the way for the success of the rap/hip-hop culture of today.