When Run DMC contributed the track, “Christmas in Hollis” to the 1987 fundraiser compilation album, A Very Special Christmas, they basically did for Christmas songs the same thing that they did for adidas sneakers – namely, giving a gritty street edge to something that had never been seen as anything but wholesome and traditional.
In both cases, Run DMC helped introduce urban culture and style to many segments of mainstream America for the first time and the lasting impact of these contributions can’t be quantified.
The relationship between Run DMC and adidas goes back a long way with both parties playing a significant part in the other one’s legacy. Way back before the Nike Air Yeezy and even the Reebok S.Carter, Run DMC kicked down the doors and blazed the pioneering trail for the worlds of hip-hop and sneakers to meet on a corporate level.
Back in the ’80s, the idea of a performance athletics brand looking beyond sports figures and into the hip-hop world for allies was completely unheard of. But in the case of Run DMC and adidas, their love affair emerged from a place far more authentic and sincere than some strategy meeting in an executive boardroom.
The Queens trio was faithfully repping the Three Stripes long before any business deals were struck. Run DMC hit the scene at a point in time when the hip-hop art form as we know it was still in its infancy and most rap acts were taking the stage in the most over the top outfits they could get tailored up. It was an understandable approach to attempt to turn heads and stand apart from the crowd, but Run DMC turned the whole look of the hip-hop culture on its head by doing the complete opposite. Instead of going for the outlandish flash and flair route, they dressed the way people did in their Hollis, Queens neighborhood.