With their third album, 1986's Raising Hell, Run-DMC found both the audience and critical acclaim they were looking for and deserved. They also proved to many that hip-hop was here to stay and not some fading trend. As such, the cards were stacked against the trio more than ever, especially when they revealed that they were toying with a new sound.

Tougher Than Leather found Run-DMC and their producers toying with sample-heavy production, which some argued was a paltry attempt to keep up with the times. Whether that was true or not, this album was still a commercial success for the three-piece, who sounded just as fresh over dusty breakbeats as they did snarling guitars.