Run-D.M.C. was formed as a trio: Jason Mizell; Darryl McDaniels and Joseph Simmons back in 1983. Prior to the release of this album, many were convinced that Hip Hop and Rap were merely a passing stage in the music scene, like many earlier trends such as Disco, had easily proved. This album forever changed that idea, and suddenly, the art of Rapping became a very cool thing for young people to listen to way back in 1986. This is not just seen as a great album, yet is seen as one of the greatest albums of all time. For that reason alone, this must be covered here and listened to for historical purposes, so let’s jump into it.
Peter Piper is a parody piece beginning with mock nursery rhymes and some simple and excellently tuneful musical parts to kick start this album. It’s a good piece of music, regardless of if you believe it has aged well or not. There are some interesting bells, beats and vocal samples to keep this piece going nicely. A really top and cool piece of music, this is really interesting. A warped and twisted take on fairy tale styled stories, this is actually what six-year-olds should be listening to. It’s hilarious yet inventive. Run-D.M.C. prove their wonderful worth musically and lyrically, and this is a great starting point for the trio. Excellent work.
It’s Tricky begins with some basic percussion and sounds, before these guys launch themselves into a wonderful tune that sounds still as inviting and as good today as it did in 1986. With some Rapping about girls and getting some action, cities in the USA and other subjects, this is a simple, enjoyable and fantastic listen. There are some nice buried guitar parts throughout, and this is a very enjoyable listen for three minutes. A mission statement by Run-D.M.C. and there are some anti-drug messages throughout, which is odd really, considering the style of music present. The tune here is really awesome, no doubt or question about it. A classic.
My Adidas comes next, and boy it is a great tune, and although is fairly straightforward listening, this is a joy to hear. Although it may seemingly be a commercial for those who wear Adidas clothes or shoes, it is actually a really fine tune. Fantastic music for those who dig Hip Hop/Rap, this is really enjoyable. It is very dated, but regardless, still sounds fresh and listenable to this day. Quick-witted lyrics are present for the listener, which is a really cool thing. The beats finish off this tune well, great effort.
Walk This Way (feat. Aerosmith) is a dual effort by the Run-D.M.C. crew and Aerosmith. It begins with some really awesome drum machine style beats, before quickly launching into an adaptation of the Aerosmith original. In fact, it is so good that it surpasses the original in quality and listenability. A really excellent tune, the Aerosmith singer Steve Tyler contributes to the chorus as well as Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry to complete the song. There is are some interesting breakdowns and excellent musical structures throughout. A very fun redo of an original song, one can appreciate the effort from both musical camps. The lyrics are pretty out there and are highly sexual. The guitar solo on this tune is manic as well, and it just sounds really terrific. The guitar work actually sounds like a harder Black Sabbath, and the track finishes off with repeated guitars and beats. Awesome tune, a must-hear for both Rock and Rap fans alike. Brilliant music. The beats at the end are massive, good work.
Is It Live begins with some great lone vocal Rapping by the Run-D.M.C. crew, quickly followed by some interesting instrumentation and percussion, including bongos. A very cool, yet minimal piece of music, this is another good track that shows the consistency and effort from all involved. The fact that this is sounding like an analogue bunch of recordings makes the effort even better by the sounds of it. If you dig the 1980s and some of the changes in the music from the time, then this album is definitely for you. Rapping well and about girls and other fun things, Run-D.M.C. were fantastic at what they did.
Perfection begins with a great vocal introduction and quickly launches into a really awesome piece stating about, rather selfishly, how great Run-D.M.C. were. Despite that, this is a good piece of music that fits the album nicely and even for a lesser number on this album, this is really good. Real drum beats are here, and the whole piece benefits more from it in any case. A short piece that is weird yet good, this is a simple tune to get one listening. A great effort.
Hit It Run comes next and has a huge amount of borderline screaming and delayed vocals at the beginning, before going into a more funky sounding tune, complete with beatboxing. A really cool piece, this is early Hip Hop at its best. A very wonderful, catchy and underrated tune, this is a very clever, interesting and intelligent musical listen from start to finish. In the second half is some awesome DJ vinyl scratching, which is excellent. All in all, these guys were straightforward, decent and empowering musicians. A really very excellent tune, this is fantastic listening. It ends abruptly.
Raising Hell is the title track. It begins with some very 1980s guitars, some excellently edited drums and some straightforward Rapping rhymes. The whole sound is very simple: rapping; guitars and drums. That’s it, but even so, there is a huge amount of editing present on this song. In any way, this is a catchy and excellent hybrid of Rock and Rap, which is totally underrated. A fiesty, upbeat and furious piece of music, Run-D.M.C. were fantastic musicians, without a doubt. The rhymes on these songs are really intelligent, which is surprising for Rap pioneers. Still, these guys were absolute legends and their music deserves to be heard. A really awesome and catchy piece of music, with some interesting lyrics. There is a ripping guitar solo in the outro, which keeps the fire burning. In any case, a very decent piece of music to hear. Good job.
You Be Illin’ begin with some DJ scratching and a great piece of instrumentation. It’s a critique that is humourous about obesity and junk food for the most part. Many people in western societies today are overweight or obese, and the fact that there are no preventative measures to prevent this is an issue. Regardless, this song is upbeat and has some great horns and piano. A rather interesting and witty piece of songcraft, Run-D.M.C. proved to be Rappers extraordinaire. A great piece with an interesting outro, this is very cool. Nice to hear.
Dumb Girl comes next. It has a repeated sample of the word “dumb” being repeated, followed quickly by more simple drum machine instrumentation. This track is about marrying a lady who does not deserve anything financially or materially. This is not a sexist piece, instead, it critiques a lady (whether or not she is real) who is totally stupid. A very good listen, this is following the rest of the album in consistency and similarities. A really great tune to play to a girl you despise, it just sounds really excellent and cool. Great effort, the beats in particular are simple, yet good.
Son Of Byford is less than half a minute long. It has some simple rhymes and beatboxing which is pretty cool. It quickly segues into the last song on the album.
Proud To Be Black comes next, and this tune has more witty and clever lyrics, set to basic drum machine beats and funky melodies. The statement is very much an anti-racist one, which sounds cool and awesome. In the USA, racism is still a huge problem to this day, and it was no different back in 1986. Referencing Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, these guys were motivated Rappers. In reality, nobody should be judged from their background culturally. Instead, they should be judged on what they do. A really great and excellent tune, a nice listening experience and a really great way to finish off an album.
This album is likely underrated, despite the fact that it was a huge commercial and critical success. However, many young Rappers today would unlikely know who these guys were. That can change here, this is a solid gold Hip Hop/Rap masterpiece that is just as excellent and punchy today. Unfortunately, Jason Mizell was murdered by gunshot in the recording studio in 2002, which permanently halted any future recording efforts by the group. Still, Run-D.M.C. are real legends to this day. Listen to this album today.
If you liked the article and would like to support the author in his musical review quest, please donate to show your support. Thank you for your consideration. Chris Airey