Yes, it can be tricky to rock a rhyme by Run-DMC without authorization. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of the groundbreaking rap group has filed a complaint in Manhattan’s US District Court alleging various stores violated federal trademark and competition laws. The $50 million lawsuit accuses Amazon and Walmart of selling products such as T-shirts and hats using the group’s name without authorization. The suit further claims dilution of Run-DMC’s trademark, infringement, and improper profiting. Since the group’s inception in the 1980’s, they claim their brand has made more than $100 million in revenue.

Lawsuits are like that and that’s the way it is

The plaintiff’s suit states that the items sold by the defendants confuses the public and suggests that Run-DMC has their full endorsement. Attached exhibits include different styles of sunglasses bearing the group’s name, along with photographs of clothing being sold without their permission. The complaint says the Run-DMC trademark is extremely valuable and highly recognizable in the hip-hop culture. One of their most visible licensing agreements can clearly be seen through Adidas.

The old school, tracksuit-chain-wearing rappers inked a $1.6 million deal with the sneaker company and even wrote the song, “My Adidas,” saluting them.

From Queens to walking their way into success

One of the biggest hip-hop acts of the 1980’s, Run-DMC was founded in 1981 in the New York borough of Queens by Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. Simmons, who is now an ordained minister who goes by the name Reverend Run, is also the brother of business mogul Russell Simmons.

Reverend Run has launched a few Reality TV shows over the years including MTV’s “Run’s House” and “Rev. Run’s Sunday Suppers” on the Cooking Channel. A third member, Jason “DJ Jam Master Jay” Mizell, was shot and killed in 2002 by an unknown assailant while visiting a recording studio in Queens. Adopted at a young age, McDaniels has reconnected with his biological mother.

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