RUN-D.M.C. ushered in a new era for hip-hop in the early ‘80s. Before the group from Hollis, Queens came onto the scene in 1983, hip-hop was basically one giant party, using disco beats and daring DJs to bring the sound. But RUN-D.M.C. took the sound, stripped it down, and made it harder and tougher, essentially laying the groundwork for rap to come. To illustrate how much of an impact this group has had on hip hop, here are RUN-D.M.C.’s 10 best songs.

10. “It’s Tricky”
You just can’t beat the opening of “It’s Tricky.” Thought the rock and rap vibe were wearing a little then by the time this single was released, “It’s Tricky” is still one of the best rock and rap fusions ever to grace music.

9. “What’s It All About”
By 1990, Run-D.M.C.’s star power was beginning to wane. Rap was gravitating to the West Coast and gangster rap, a genre in which Run-D.M.C. helped create. But although they weren’t making hits anymore, that didn’t stop the group from trying, and one of their most underrated gems is “What’s It All About,” a call-to-arms of sorts to the problems of the world.

8. “Mary, Mary”
“Mary, Mary” was a protest song dedicated to the bad press Run-D.M.C., and rap in general, was getting from moral advocates. It’s a hard and vicious beat and the lyrics is equally as tough. It’s awesome track that is sometimes forgotten in the duo’s catalog.

7. “Christmas in Hollis”
There is no Christmas without “Christmas in Hollis” blasting on the radio. The 1987 hit holiday single is one of the best Christmas singles ever recorded and if you’re not into “Christmas in Hollis,” then you’re simply not into the Christmas spirit.

6. “Rock Box”
One of the group’s earlier hits, “Rock Box” was one of the first rap singles to fuse together rock and rap and make it a successful single. It’s a track that goes hard, and the searing guitar is what really brings the track together.

5. “Hard Times”
Most rap outfits in the ‘80s had, at least, one track where the main topic was about hard times. Run-D.M.C. felt like it was obligatory to make a track describing the hard times of the poor in the ’80s. “Hard Times” establishes the sound that would bring them much success later on in the decade, and though it wasn’t officially released a single, “Hard Times is still one the duo’s best gems.

4. “You Talk Too Much”
You can make the argument that “You Talk Too Much” is a little too high on this list. But listen to the track, and you can also make the claim that this song is just where it needs to be. It’s a little goofy, but in a good way, and it’s a single that is infectious as it is hard.

3. “It’s Like That”
“It’s like that, and that’s the way it is!” That bar is probably one of the most well-known lines from one of rap’s most beloved groups. “It’s Like That” was the first single released by the group, and if you were into hip hop back in 1984, you knew that Run-D.M.C. was going places based off of this one track.

2. “Walk This Way”
Let’s make a correction. “Walk This Way” was not the first Run-D.M.C. song to fuse rap and rock together. The duo had been created this fusion long before “Walk This Way” became a reality. But this 1986 single, which paired the group with Aerosmith, was the first to break into the mainstream, and that is why “Walk This Way” is so high on this list.

1. “King of Rock”
Before “Walk This Way” became a smash, there was “King of Rock,” which is a much tighter song that was able to bridge the gap between rock and rap. Run and D.M.C’s lyrics stream perfectly together, and the mix of Jam Master Jay only added to the musical buffet of hard rock and hard rap. In short, “King of Rock” is Run-D.M.C.’s best single.
Though Run-D.M.C. rarely perform together as a group, their songs still reign as some of the best hip-hop has ever produced, and if you're a purist of the genre, there should be no way that these 10 songs are not in your playlist.