The iconic hip-hop music group Run-DMC is suing Walmart, Amazon, and other retailers for unlawfully selling merchandise in violation of the group’s trademark. The other retailers include the makers and distributors profiting from sales of Run-DMC merchandise. Run-DMC contends this has been done without the group’s expressed consent.


Run-DMC’s original members include Joseph Simmons “Run” (he now goes by Rev. Run), Darryl McDaniels “DMC,” and Jason Mizell “Jam Master Jay.” Simmons founded the group in 1981, and the trio went on to become widely-known in the world of rap and hip-hop culture. They adopted a signature rap style of music and fashion that has been imitated for decades.


They were the first hip-hop group to appear on MTV, and they were the first rap group to have a certified gold album, among other honors and achievements. Run-DMC was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 24th Annual Awards Dinner. With so many groundbreaking feats, it is no wonder their name and logo are legendary and so recognizable.


The group’s signature block logo can be seen on t-shirts, jackets, and sweatshirts, among other merchandise at various retail store chains. The group contends that while some of these stores are selling legitimate items bearing their logo, other retailers are unlicensed. Unauthorized making, distributing, and selling of merchandise containing their brand name directly takes money out of the pockets of the brand’s creators.


Sadly, one of the trio and their friend and partner Mizell “Jam Master Jay” was killed in October 2002 as he worked in his music studio. Mizell was said to be the “backbone” of the trio. Music was their lives and unauthorized selling of merchandise that profits retailers instead of them is disrespectful to the group’s brand and to their deceased friend.



Run-DMC disbanded in light of their friend’s passing, and Simmons Run has since turned to faith and become a minister. Although the group is no longer together, their music lives on. Rappers today credit Run-DMC for opening doors that made it possible for them to make music and enjoy the lives they live.


According to Simmons, the group could not see themselves performing without Mizell and chose to retire. He stated, “I can’t get onstage with a new DJ.” As a result of losing their friend, they had to say goodbye to big endorsement deals, and concert collaborations they were looking forward to. The future once looked very bright for them, but was changed in an instant.


That is why this practice is so detrimental to the group and why they must demand recompense from Walmart and Amazon online retailers. Customers interested in purchasing merchandise are encouraged to visit the Run-DMC store on their official website. In this way, you can be assured what you receive is authentic merchandise and that the money will go where it belongs: to the group that bears its name.


What do you think can be done to discourage unauthorized stores and retailers from profiting from sales of merchandise belonging to an artist or group? Let’s talk here or on Twitter: @lcarterwriter