Run-DMC? Not so much.
Friday June 29th 2007,
Filed under: Features,Run-DMC kinda sucked,Steady Bootleggin'
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There’s no denying the importance of the Kings from Queens in the development of this here rap shit, but truth be told, when I first started copping TDK D-90 dubs of Kool & Deadly and Criminal Minded that whole shout-rap style was sounding real primitive. Not only that, but the fact that headbangers were sporting Run-DMC shirts on the strength of their Wrestlemania appearance wasn’t exactly inspiring me rush out to cop Tougher Than Leather. Why would I want to waste me time with some “nursery rhyme white friendly rock rap faggotry”1 when I could be soaking-up some Rakim in my Sony Megabass auto-reverse? Had I started listening to rap a year earlier, would I too have stood in a record store for an hour, staring at the cover to Raising Hell and thinking “Rap has made it!” like Chuck D?

The truth of the matter is that getting too large and “crossing over” was always the beginning of the end, as demonstrated by the Fat Boys, LL, Whodini and Kurtis Blow. Hard to believe in comparison to the current era of “you only did 1.5 mil. your first week, you suck!” – although even that seems to be coming to a close, as the traditional music industry model continues to come apart at the seams. How can you brag about your exclusive tape anymore when it can be uploaded in an instant? Instead of being the only kid in your school to have that latest DJ Red Alert / Chuck Chillout shit, are bragging rights attained by having the the biggest collection on your hard drive? Or is the deciding factor is recognizing what’s good out of those hundreds of songs you might consume in a day?

The declarations of DJ Run were not often included in that selection process. As soon as “Ego Trippin”, “South Bronx” and “My Melody” hit, “My Adidas” was prehistoric technique. Drum machines and tag-team vocal routines didn’t have a hope in hell against the newest latest flow styles that KRS-One was delivering or the science of the Ultra Lab beats. But isn’t that the same thing that the JMJ‘s boy’s did to Melle Mel and Caz? Sure, but I wasn’t buying records in 1983, so that’s some history book shit. Not to mention that Darryl and Joe didn’t outdo those guys on the mic – they got over because they didn’t rhyme over corny studio bands and dress-up in gay outfits. All I knew is I didn’t want to listen to the same shit that every other meat-head was into, and if Aerosmith wasn’t involved in any way – all the better. I also still haven’t forgiven Cool J for that “I Need Love” shit.

Run-DMC – Lord of Lyrics

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49 Comments so far
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seems like I got into Hip Hop around the same time as you and agree with most of what you’re saying.
I didnt really like em too much at the time compared to Rakim,Kane etc (apart from ‘Rock Box’ for some reason!) but about 10 years later when the jiggy period first hit I started checking them a bit more
They definitely have songs that can hold their when played against the big songs of the time – Sucker MCs, Beats To The Rhyme, Runs House still sound good next to Eric B Is President,South Bronx, The Bridge,Nobody Beats.. etc

then again i also liked ‘Whats It All About’!

special mentions to ‘Down With The King’ and ‘Queens Day’ even thye arent really proper Run DMC joints.

Comment by step one 06.29.07 @

“Beats to the Rhyme” and “Run’s House” are kinda dope, though.

I guess this means you don’t really appreciate any pre-86 shout/drum machine rap…right?

Comment by BeatRabbi 06.29.07 @

your buggin…

Comment by AO 06.29.07 @

I got into Run-DMC with “you talk too much” and “30 days” and then “raising hell” and all of that stuff was top notch compared to the electro stuff/breakin stuff out. Mary, Mary was and tougher than leather was wack. LL’s “radio” album was great, but I knew bad things were coming with “i need love”…bad things.

Comment by planb 06.29.07 @

“I guess this means you don’t really appreciate any pre-86 shout/drum machine rap…right?”

Not true. All the Duke Bootee shit (K-Rob/Z3-MCs/Word of Mouth etc), the first Skinny Boys and all of that still wins.

Comment by Robbie 06.29.07 @

We need more Duke Bootee snares.

Comment by planb 06.29.07 @

I always hated that song with aerosmith – but all these groups you say are ‘better’ – eric b & rakim, krs etc. wouldn’t have become available to me (I’m from australia) if run-dmc hadn’t brought about enough mainstream curiosity in rap for record stores to start getting some stuff in (I bought my first eric b & rakim tape having no idea who they were or what they sounded like – just knowing it was rap was enough to give it a go) and late night music shows played clips. when the mainstream curiosity wore off (when people realized rap wasn’t just a new type of headbanging) the real rap lovers could really start to reap a few rewards. suddenly, we had these dedicated hip hop radio shows, and people could listen in recording and poring over all the best songs. and I bought heaps of albums because of those radio stations. and anything you heard was in stock, because the dedicated hip hop record shops had it all.

I’m not saying this can all be attributed to Run-DMC – but they might have done more for hip hop – on a global level, that is – than you’re giving them credit for.

Comment by dareebo 06.29.07 @

your bugging robbie! however i respect your opinion. keep doing it my dude.

Comment by daruffian 06.29.07 @

At least Run-DMC they were original and also they were from the era before Marley was doing the sampling thing. I remember when Kris did Success Is The Word on Sleeping Bag Records. That’s was one of the wackest songs of All-Time, then he changed his style after that…

Comment by Ruube 06.29.07 @

Context is the issue here…Hip Hop was still on some outlaw shit backday……The key shit is that black people weren’t on M.T.V. really at that time except Michael Jackson. As a youth seeing those brothers yellin on motherfuckers had a wild everlasting effect……..Plus check the It’s tricky b side”Tempo”, that’s some hard rock shit right there……”Jam Master J” off the first album was fly…..”Together Forever”.. …………… now that I think of it they had crazy joints…..Your dead wrong for trying to front on them….Shame on you kid…

Comment by shamz 06.29.07 @

I agree. When I first started listening to hip hop (let’s say 85 and beyond) I never really liked RUN DMC. They have some hot tracks, and are amongst the most influential rappers ever. But I always thought their style was too commercial–even back then. The reliance on rock samples like in Rock Box…and of course Walk This Way…were boring to me. I was listening to hip hop as an alternative to rock.

Plus buy the time I was really buying a lot of records in the late ’80s–RUN DMC were in their decline with records like “Pause” etc.

With that said, Beats to the Rhyme is like one of the most futuristic tracks ever.

Comment by Finally 06.30.07 @

“Darryl and Joe” from the second album was rather epic.

Comment by Robbie 06.30.07 @

I can’t believe the only”true”HipHop”royalty is even being discussed with qwuestions to their legend.We can debate all day about them using commercial techniques and rock riffs,but Rick Rubin cleverly knew if HipHop did not reach the masses of white fans and other nations it would not last”.HipHop started in the Bronx,N.Y. in itself is a mecca of various races,so it made sense to do a crosssover song with Aerosmith that would get”mass appeal”and eventually global.Ice -T said it best on his”O.G.-album”,”thanks to Run-DMC for keeping HipHop alive/when it was about to take a dive”.Never forget RUN-DMC toured the U.K.,Japan,and Africa long before any of the afore mentioned(Golden Era)emcees made it off their blocks on the strenghth of the sucess of those rock tracks.-Roger Jones

Comment by Roger Jones 06.30.07 @

Finally, could you please define what you mean by “commerical” especially in relation to that time??

Also Roger, I find it amazing that certain people are critquing them for their usage of “rock riffs”, when last I checked listening to those block party tapes, as well as being informed from my good friend T La Rock, HipHop DJ’s from those live HipHop jams used and cut up “rock riffs” at their jams…at clubs like Danceteria, Roxy, Mudd Club…HipHoppers & the Punk Rockers used to jam together, which was how people like Beastie Boys & Rick Rubin became aware of the HipHop scene and caught that “HipHop bug”…

Also when taking about classic Run DMC tracks, how can people leave out Peter Piper, that beat was HOT

Comment by Kevin 06.30.07 @

Beats To The Rhymes is definitely one of their best – I couldnt believe that track was Jay blending the acapella over the beat rather than them rhyming on it (according to the Ego Trip Rap Lists book anyway)!

Comment by step one 06.30.07 @

“I Need Love” was unforgivable.

Comment by Ausar 06.30.07 @

I might have seen this on your site actually, but here’s Run freestyling over “My Melody” on Rap Attack.

Comment by Tray 06.30.07 @

wow good shit. when i heard beats 2 the rhyme i thought it was the future. ummm darryl and joe one of the best hip hop songs/beats ever but that rock shit dont do it 4 me…..sorrry

Comment by MERCILESZ 06.30.07 @

Can’t agree with you on this. I understand that from a technical/lyrical standpoint, they were no Rakim or KRS… but they made some great records- and then there’s that whole thing with them solidifying hip-hop as a music form to be taken seriously and all.

It seems it’s just a matter of you coming in during a different time period than the one in which they were on top. Isn’t that basically the same thing as these kids who are coming of age to Lil’ Wayne and not being big fans of Nas? I know it’s kinda different, but it really isn’t when you think about it.

Oh, and that WrestleMania appearance was actually one of the things that helped them go out of style with EVERYONE in ’89. That and the “Ghostbusters II Rap”. I don’t think rap or rock fans were much into them by that point.

Comment by DANJAMANIA 06.30.07 @

Don’t forget GMC as being one of the Top Lyricists at least in my Book…Dude had an ill still back in 86 that’s even ill up to this Day imho…


Comment by Adalbert 06.30.07 @

I agree with shamz…context is the issue. I started listening to rap back in the late 70s. Back then rappers were not saying much lyrically & the music was just studio musicians replaying a hot R&B or disco track. Cats who followed the rap game at that time and then started to here groups like Run-DMC – I think they have total appreciation for what they contributed. I do think the context is key here. Looking forward at Run-DMC from the Sugarhill area versus looking back at Run-DMC from the 88 era.

Comment by DOA 06.30.07 @

Yeah I mean RUN DMC were the first really commercially successful rap acts–but my first real exposure to them as a kid was Rock Box, and I just didn’t like it. Didn’t like the rock samples really. My tastes sort of developed during the whole James Brown sample era.

I’m not denying they were influential, and without them rap may not have made it past fad status.

RUN DMC and also Kool Moe Dee changed the face of rap forever on the lyrical tip. I just was never into either one of them as artists much.

I do like the various best of RUN DMC compilations because they have a lot of great songs.

Comment by Finally 06.30.07 @

We made it so that others could grow
look at LL, A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb and Nas Esco
Aint takin credit but showing pride look at us now
got haters mouths all open wide wonderin how
in some cases the only thing that Father and Son
have in common is their love for Run
been the illest since day one,too advanced to ever be caught
who’s more legendary than me? thats what I thought
And if somebody wanna test mine, yo watch this:
‘Peter Piper picked peppers…’
see I knew you know the next line and I bet you said it
Its been a minute Im still the king of the world so dont forget it

Run on ‘Queens Day’

Comment by step one 07.01.07 @

knackers! i c both sides but what was the point?

oh yeah fuck ‘i need love’ – dear yvette!
darryl and joe and jam master jammin promo 12″ remix still hold weight today, meaning they still can be passed of as modern Run dmc tracks, unlike alot of stuff from that mid 80s era that has definatly got its place back there in history..

Comment by Red rooster 07.02.07 @

The Skinny Boys over Run-DMC? At least Run-DMC wrote their own lyrics.

Comment by turtle 07.02.07 @

I felt the same as you, Robbie. When KAne and Rakim came out, Run-DMC didn’t matter to me anymore. Let’s not forget the subliminal jab
Dougie Fresh did when he had a Bally Sneaker shootup a paid of Shelltoe Addidas in the “All the Way to Heaven” video! I mean, really. who rocked Shelltoe Addidas without laces in ’88, when Kane, Slick Rick and Dana Dane came though with kangols, silk suits, gucci sneaks and suede bally’s?! ..But still. “Run’s House” got me open.

Comment by ron gallardo 07.02.07 @

… so basically you just try to create some little controversy to get a lot of comments ?

Comment by SLurg 07.02.07 @

SLurg – you’re a dick.

Comment by step one 07.02.07 @

Although your words are harsh, they are on point. I STOPPED listening to RUNDMC after they made that song w/ Aerosmith. I also NEVER EVER like the Beastie Boys. IN fact, I often said aloud “why did they waste that beat on those white guys?”

Comment by May1972 07.02.07 @

I just really hate when the vets,in this case”the Kings”get cheap shots and comments like”they fell off”because of early live performances.I’m old enough to remember when there was no(Yo!Mtv Raps)then seeing them host the”pilot”episode that launched the show that launched 1000’s of careers,you cats get caught up in small things,these brothers made HipHop grow,take their contribution out of the equation,and there aint no HipHop game,cut this nonsense out,nobody outside of queens,knew about queens before Run-DMC blew up,and before Run-DMC did that pilot on MTV,no rappers appeared on MTV or TV for that matter,or Magazines,shit there were no HipHop publications before Run-DMC blazed a path from queens,the key to HipHop’s longevity ladies and gents….is respect the architects.

Comment by Roger Jones 07.02.07 @

Who said ‘Success is the word’ sucked? Dead wrong. Nice late-era electro track. And no discussion of Run DMC is complete without ‘Live at the funhouse’. They weren’t just old schoolers in street wear rather than lace and brocade, they invented styles.

Comment by Drewhuge 07.03.07 @

The Skinny Boys wrote their shit – they got screwed out of their writing and producing credits by their manager. Full story next week when I drop the interview I did with them.

As far as this being a “shock post” – I would have said that Run was a fudge or something if I that was the case.

Comment by Robbie 07.03.07 @

sorry for the repeat post but there is really nothing shocking about what Robbie is saying at all.Many of us do agree with him and it’s not like we don’t like rundmc its just as robbie said…not that much.I like what people are saying about the group bringing rap to the masses and this may be true but if it were not for the late eighties sound that made them sound obsolete and the 70’s sound that created them rap would not be nearly as popular as it is. Beats to the rhyme and runs House keep getting mentioned but that was rundmc attempting to change to reflect the sampled sound of that era..the era that most current hip hop kids refer to as the golden age.

Comment by MERCILESZ 07.03.07 @

Again…context and perspective. Has anybody seen Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists? It would help with your perspective on this topic.
This is my perspective (from down south in VA). Like a number of Blacks at the time I was sick of late 70s/early 80s R&B (it was “tired” and stuck in the same old, same old). Disco had mostly faded. Rap had broken out in the late 70s with Sugarhill, Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, etc. but did not last in the mainstream. You had to be in the NY, NJ area or Philadelphia to catch the rap releases of this time. MTV broke out in 1981. MANY Blacks at that time were listening to music (ROCK music) for which they saw videos on MTV. They were also listening to Prince, Michael Jackson, etc. Actually, not just many but MOST!!! It was nothing to hear Black kids singing Van Halen’s “Jump”, British rock, Prince rock flavored songs, etc. The dominant rap style at that time was still based on the old Sugarhill, Flash & The Furious Five style. Then, around 1983, RUN DMC entered the scene. Look at Ego Trip’s list. The styles changed dramatically the year after RUN DMC entered. Not to say that others didn’t have fresh, new styles but RUN DMC helped kick open the doors. After 83 they kept slamming hits while the older Sugarhill era faded. They had people who didn’t even listen to a lot of rap say’n, “It’s like that…and that’s the way it is” or “Two years ago…” Those were common phrases on the street. Everybody new RUN DMC’s lines. Many wanted to sport shell-toes, leather jackets, etc. Don’t forget the DefJam tours. Yall can’t take NOTHING away from RUN DMC. That’s a FACT!

Comment by DOA 07.03.07 @

Did not know the Skinny Boys got screwed by their manager. I just remember looking at the liner notes back in the day and seeing that some chick wrote the lyrics and thinking ‘that is wack’. And that was on top of the name of the group was riding off the success of the Fat Boys. But as far as Run-DMC, they had a good run from 83 to 88. They have many classic songs, they ushered in the sweat suit and gold chain era, and they put on a live show. Can’t front on Run-DMC.

Comment by turtle 07.03.07 @

That’s just sacrelige right there. You need to be locked in your room and forced to listen to the first LP OVER AND OVER until you realize how stupid of a post this is.

Comment by Jason 07.03.07 @

Im from nj and believe me it wasn’t just the hip hop records you couldn’t get outside of the tri- state.Many records that formed the sound of early hip hop were independent records out of new york mostly 12 inches and are classics here but outside the tri-state they are revived through sampling.The late 70’s early eighties sound is responsible for so many breaks(even ones that rundmc used)it’s ridiculous.Most of the beat stabs you hear on early rundmc by j are breaks that djs and rappers had been cutting and rapping on for years its just that profile had a budget and michael jackson had just finished suing mtv to get his black ass on.rundmc didn’t do anything new unless you weren’t from here and in that case all rap was new to you.i just watched a documentary on vh-1 that had dmc talking about how the cold crush changed his life.he said after he heard those tapes he wanted to rap.thats saying something.cold crush wasn’t wearing no leather and spikes either,they dressed like they dressed on the block.funky 4+1 more wasn’t wearing no leather and outfits and all that crazy stuff.the only ones i remember dressin crazy was soulsonic and furious 5.everybody else dressed like they did on the block.rundmc didn’t bring any new fashion to hip hop.they dressed like everybody else in shoe laces comes from jail-u know-so u can’t hang urself.they just copied what they wild style or style wars even the commercial azz beat street and u will see everybody wearing lee suits and sneakers so please cut that fashion thing out when people are discussing music.lyrically rundmc regressed the artform 10 years back and in my opinion were just pop imitations of what was really going on in hip hop before they ever picked up a mic.i think this is why they faded so soon when the newer breed of kane grap krs rakim shan…etc came on the scene in 86.if u ask me those 86 kids were more truthful to the original lyrical artform that the coldcrush fantastic 5 treacherous 3 funky 4+1 more to name a few had done almost ten years prior.

Comment by MERCILESZ 07.03.07 @

i can’t take too many of these comments seriously, cause i swear to god y’all were doin the typewriter to mc hammer, then two years later were like “nah i love that ignant street shit” its funny cause when i saw that walk this way video, i was like, that is a metaphor for the racial/cultural tension between people of color and white folk [or rap and rock] i gotta agree most rap/rock shit don’t work, but i think zach de la rocha has one of the illest and most poisonous flows ever, [see Eye of the storm w/Roni-size] yet he screams his shit to rock music, a-la Run-DMC, but again, i gotta agree with Robbie, i never really liked Run-DMC’s shit, even when i was like, hmm, walk this way is an interesting social commentary, i peeped some of their other shit, and then thought, man, no wonder these guys are old school, they are garbage, except of course for the previously commented on tracks, but on the real, just cause the snow shovel broke, doesn’t mean it didn’t give years of loyal service to paving the way

Comment by gstatty 07.04.07 @

@ Mercilesz: I don’t think anyone in the know EVER said Run-DMC brought new fashion to the streets, but damn if they didn’t make their style the shit for a good while. I don’t believe that I woulda been a kid and seen SO MANY Adidas sweatsuits and shoes at one show if it wasn’t for Run-DMC. And they really brought it to a point where it was OK to dress like that in hip-hop, because up to that point, damn near EVERYBODY was doing that punk rock shit- Cold Crush included. To negate what Run-DMC did is kinda like lookin’ at the ’90s and saying “well Wu-Tang didn’t do anything great, somebody else kinda/sorta/sorta/kinda did something similar to that 15 years before them”. It’s already in the books, we can’t rewrite history now and cut Run-DMC out, and pass them off as just some pop version of hip-hop, cause it’s SO far from true.

Comment by DANJAMANIA 07.04.07 @

Let’s just be honest, even though we all know Run DMC were bound to commercial (meaning they made singles with the priority of selling a lot of records) we all were influenced by the listening of their songs, be it as a customer or as a wanna-be rapper. Of course if I have to make my choice NOW, 15 years later, I would put a bunch of album by other artists from the same era before Run DMC’s but no one can deny the power of the Kings from Queens. And by the way tracks such as Sucker MC’s, Peter Piper, Hit It Run, Beats To The Rhyme are straigh-up Hip-Hop Classic.

Comment by ceedub 07.05.07 @

40 comments and it’s still going…
May be it’s just me, but usually the posts on this blog have more substance than that. I don’t really see a reason to create a category like “Run-DMC kinda sucked”, besides shock value.
“nursery rhyme white friendly rock rap faggotry”, sure EPMD or Slick Rick would never use nursery rhyme, PE would not use rock guitar or drum solo in their songs…

Comment by SLurg 07.05.07 @

This topic is insane , people hatin on Run DMC ??? wow that’s crazy im having a hard time believing this is for real …thats some ignorant sh*t right there never thought i would see that on this site , thats like saying -i wasnt really feeling Eric B & Rakim until Eric B’s solo album ….lololol ya’ll need to stop doing that propane gas fools

Comment by Dolo 07.05.07 @

hey it is what it is…hip hop was around before rundmc and no one ever chose to dress like them because they made a record.they dressed like the streets dressed cuz they wanted to appear iz what it iz…..

Comment by MERCILESZ 07.05.07 @

No one describes a rock fan who happens not to like the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a hater; it’s just their personal taste. If you’re a Beyonce fan, are you a hater if you don’t like Amerie? Get over it.
My personal views are similar to the author..and personal is the key. I think Peter Piper was a hot joint, and I’ve got a couple of their 12″s and the Raising Hell album. But I spent my cash in 1987 on going to see Schoolly D, Eric B & Rakim, P.E. & L.L. (not Run DMC & the Beastie Boys)

Comment by JJ 07.07.07 @

have you ever got together with another person and actually tried to karoke even one of the great duo’s songs? Most people can’t, that’s why the trend went with the solo emcee and solo verses, cuz that shit was easier to do, than the funky rountines that Joe and Dee built off the cold crush. Next yer gonna tell us Moe Dee burning Busy Bee is “prehistoric” and can’t match up to the deadpan of My Melody… apples and oranges homey, but thanks for sparkin the fire!

Comment by smooth triumph 07.10.07 @

You really are buggin’. I too appreciate the opinion of someone who truly loves and knows hip hop, but you are buggin’. Run, although he never gets mentioned, was a nice emcee and by that I mean above average. He shined with less competition than say a Rakim or Nas but if he had comp then he would have smoked them. I did feel Tougher Than Leather was the end for them if they kept going in that direction, well so was Mary, Mary for that matter. I check your site and Soul Sides everyday, keep up the good work.

Comment by eye ehn jee 07.17.07 @

you can’t front on JMJ, one of the greatest DJ’s to ever spin!

And the more I learn about Run-DMC, the more credit goes to Jay.

Comment by Sheriff Rosco 02.21.08 @

eat a dick kid

end reading this blog ASAP

Comment by God 11.11.08 @

From reading your views on Run DMC, you clearly have no idea of what they stood for. Run DMC created the elements that compile to make rap and these are flow, rhymes etc for example “Ooh Watcha Gonna Do”, “Down with the king”, “Hard Times”. They might have been mainstream but they gave poorer black communities of hope and you’re tryna diss them, frankly you are an idiot and clearly don’t understand the development of rap and what it stands for. p.s. do some research and stop spreading your ignorant views.

Comment by Anon 11.23.09 @

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