Run-D.M.C. Reunite With 'Walk This Way' Producer Rick Rubin

Pioneering rap crew collaborates with famed producer on track expected to hit stores by April.

Run-D.M.C. and superstar producer Rick Rubin have paired up and recorded a new single, "Numbers," that the group hope will put them back on top. "We did do a [song] with Rick Rubin producing," D.M.C., a.k.a. Darryl McDaniels, said.

Reached by phone at his room in the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, where Run-D.M.C. were playing a fashion show at the Hard Rock Cafe, D.M.C., 32, said, "['Numbers' is] an extension of what Jason Nevins did," referring to the recent single "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins," which features a cover of the Run-D.M.C. classic "It's Like That" by mix-maestro Nevins. "We did a new [song] with all new vocals, but it's the same type of music Jason Nevins did. It should be coming out soon."

D.M.C. speculated that the trio's electronica-influenced single might come out as soon as April. Run-D.M.C.'s publicist, Tracy Miller, said that she did not know when the single would hit store shelves but said that the rappers will begin recording their next album in New York beginning in May or June.

The New York-based rap group, which hit it big in the mid-'80s with their Rick Rubin-produced smash cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" -- which brought rap music to mainstream audiences -- have released six albums. The crew first captured attention with their 1983 debut single, "It's Like That" (RealAudio excerpt), b/w "Sucker M.C.'s."

The group's early albums -- 1984's Run-D.M.C. and 1985's King of Rock -- found producer Rubin working hard-rock guitar samples into the mix, presaging the production approach he would use for the Beastie Boys' multimillion-selling 1986 album, Licensed To Ill. Run-D.M.C.'s landmark 1986 LP, Raising Hell, also produced by Rubin, included the hits "My Adidas," "You Be Illin' " and "It's Tricky," as well as "Walk This Way."

Hip-hop has made great inroads into the pop charts and popular consciousness since the days when crew members Run and D.M.C. first grabbed their mics and Jam Master Jay took to scratching records on turntables, D.M.C. said.

"Hip-hop's at the top of the charts right now," D.M.C. said. "It's incorporated into everything; alternative rock, rock 'n' roll, reggae, R&B, in every music outside of the real hip-hop, whether it's a hip-hop sample, a hip-hop loop or a hip-hop voice or a DJ scratching or even something that the Chemical Brothers are doing, you know you're hearing Public Enemy, you're hearing Run-D.M.C., you're hearing Rakim."

Despite his belief in hip-hop's increasing influence, D.M.C. cautions that rap is falling into a rut with its continued dependence on sampling to bring the beats.

"I just think if everyone keeps doing [sampling], they'll keep staying in one place, one position. There's no vision in hip-hop right now. Nobody seems to want to advance," D.M.C. said. [Fri., Feb. 20, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]