Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

As “Walk This Way” turns 30, an artist combines other rappers and rockers

Illustration: Ryan Durr (Rapper Remix)
Illustration: Ryan Durr (Rapper Remix)

On July 4, 1986, Run-D.M.C. released a single from its Raising Hell LP that would have a seismic effect on the music world: a remake of the 1975 hit “Walk This Way.” Featuring the members of Aerosmith, this proto-mashup combined rock and rap in a way that fired the public’s imagination and led to countless imitators. Run-D.M.C. had been using rock riffs in its songs for years, particularly on “Rock Box” and “King Of Rock,” but “Walk This Way” is the one that brought the Queens rappers into the upper reaches of the pop charts. That song ruled the summer of 1986. Rap had officially become part of the musical mainstream, and the rock purists were just going to have to deal with it. Cartoonist Ryan Durr was obviously inspired by “Walk This Way” when he decided to create The Rapper Remix, an art project in which various rock royalty are given hip-hop makeovers.

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Bob Dylan, for instance, is given shades, a scraggly goatee, and gold teeth to become “O.D.B. Dylan” in tribute to the fallen Wu Tang rapper. Dylan’s wild hair is basically kept intact.

Illustration: Ryan Durr (Rapper Remix)
Illustration: Ryan Durr (Rapper Remix)
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A half-Jimi, half-Shady hybrid called “Eminendrix” looks resplendent with his purple toreador jacket and red scarf, not to mention the magnificent blond mane that looms over his scowling face.

Illustration: Ryan Durr (Rapper Remix)
Illustration: Ryan Durr (Rapper Remix)
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And for all the sensitive people out there, Durr presents “Drake Bowie.” This guy definitely spends a lot of time looking in the mirror and sighing deeply.

Illustration for article titled As “Walk This Way” turns 30, an artist combines other rappers and rockers
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Curiously, neither Run-D.M.C. nor Aerosmith are depicted here, but Durr makes their influence clear in his statement accompanying the piece:

In 1986 when Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith dropped “Walk This Way,” the world lost their shit. The walls between hip-hop and rock were forever smashed. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the influences of musicians, especially when they cross over into completely different genres. Having a penchant for annoying my wife with pun-tastic musician name mashups, I decided it would be even funnier (stupider?) to bring them to life as silly cartoons. So here we are.

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