Run Dmc Reissue 4 Classic Albums
Posted on October 16, 2005 by Jamie Slaughter
Every turning point in American music has its originator, its progenitor, its King. The blues had W.C. Handy and jazz had Louis Armstrong. Swing had Benny Goodman and bebop had Charlie Parker. Rhythm and blues had Ray Charles and rock and roll had Elvis Presley. Punk rock had the Stooges and disco had Barry White. And hip-hop had Run-DMC ? and always will, with their uncompromised vision and attitude, as laid out on their formative albums and singles, serving as the DNA of rap music for more than two decades and counting.
From the first beats of 1983?s ?It?s Like That,? their debut single, Run-DMC ignited a revolution that brought hip-hop into the front-line, across television barriers, into the RIAA platinum realm, and straight ahead to the mash-ups that are today?s new frontiers of rap and rock. It all starts with Run-DMC?s first 4 albums, 1980s classics which have been newly remastered as expanded editions with multiple bonus tracks ? a total of 17 tracks between them, including demos, live performances, single B sides, remixes, spiels, and radio spots, most of which are previously unreleased. Arriving in stores September 6th on Profile/Arista/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, are deluxe digipaks of RUN-D.M.C. (1984), the 20th anniversary special edition of KING OF ROCK (1985), RAISING HELL (1986), and TOUGHER THAN LEATHER (1988).
Providing an up-to-the-minute context for the release of these four titles is news of Run?s House, the brand new family-based reality sitcom starring Rev Run (aka Joey Simmons). Run?s House, brought to MTV by Sean ?P. Diddy? Combs? Bad Boy TV and Russell Simmons, will premiere this fall. Underscoring the series is the long-awaited first solo album project by Rev Run, Distortion, which will arrive in stores September 13th on Russell Simmons Music Group/Island Def Jam. ?Mind On the Road,? the album?s first single pick, is highlighted in ?Madden 2006,? the latest edition in E/A?s mega-successful football video game series. Due for release on August 9th, the video is expected to sell over 7 million units in North America. All this marks the return to center stage for Rev Run. His activities were dramatically curtailed after the tragic murder of close friend and Run-DMC founding member Jam Master Jay on October 30, 2002, just weeks after the group finished a major tour with Aerosmith and Kid Rock.
In addition to the bonus tracks material on the four new expanded editions, each CD booklet features rare photography and memorabilia from the Run-DMC archive. Also included in each volume are tribute quotes from Eminem, 50 Cent, Ice-T, Pete Rock, MCA of the Beastie Boys, Chris Rock, MC Lyte, Kid Rock, and producer Rick Rubin.
?Until Run-DMC I thought that hip-hop was something that was only going to be done in basements and in clubs,? said Ice-T. ?I went to a Run-DMC concert and they actually made me believe that hip-hop could be big. Rap was never at that level. We?d never seen it like that.? Adds Eminem, ?Run-DMC broke down the barriers. They were the first real rap stars. Everyone in the game today owes something to them.?
Liner notes have been painstakingly assembled for each album. Bill Adler, original publicist for Rush Management and Profile Records, and author of the definitive biography, Tougher Than Leather: The Rise of Run-DMC (Consafos Press 2002), has written a newly commissioned 1,600-word essay for RUN-D.M.C. Andrew Graham, a Boston-based writer who has covered hip hop and punk for MTV and a variety of publications, has written a newly commissioned 1,700-word essay for KING OF ROCK, which references his interviews with producers, DJs, Profile Records executives, and contemporary indie hip hop figures Larry Smith, Sam Sever, Prince Paul, Ricky Powell, Cory Robbins, El-P, DJ Chuck Chillout, DJ Red Alert, and others.
A newly commissioned 1,700-word essay for RAISING HELL has been written by Sacha Jenkins, editorial director of Mass Appeal magazine, former editor of Vibe, co-founder of egotrip magazine, and executive producer of the compilation album egotrip?s The Big Playback (Priority, 2000). Last but not least is the indispensable 1,900-word essay for TOUGHER THAN LEATHER written by Chuck D, former frontman for Public Enemy, acclaimed rapper, composer, actor, producer, and co-host of ?On The Real,? a daily show on the Air America Radio network.
The accomplishments of Run-DMC ? Joseph ?Run? Simmons, Darryl ?DMC? McDaniel, and Jason ?Jam Master Jay? Mizell ? are unparalleled:
? The first rap act to have a #1 R&B charting rap album
? The first rap act to have a Top 10 pop charting rap album
? The first rap act to earn RIAA gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums
? The first rap act to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine
? The first rap act to receive a Grammy Award nomination
? The first rap act to have a video added to MTV
? The first rap act to appear on Saturday Night Live and American Bandstand
? The first rap act to win crossover appeal with rock and hip-hop fans
? The only rap act to perform at Live Aid in 1985
? AND the first rap act signed to an athletic product endorsement deal
Despite the Run?s House locale of affluent Saddle River, New Jersey, the roots of Run-DMC remain firmly planted in the working class New York neighborhood of Hollis, Queens. Russell Simmons was managing pioneering rapper Kurtis Blow when younger brother Run began to hone his ?rhyming apparatus.? Stuck for inspiration while writing ?It?s Like That? ? described by Adler as musically, a nasty, grimy version of Afrika Bambaataa?s ?Planet Rock,? and lyrically, a less hardcore version of Melle Mel?s ?The Message,? both 1982 rap hits ? Run turned to his childhood pal Darryl McDaniels (DMC), for help. Their collaboration continued on the B side, ?Sucker M.C.?s,? which built on a drumbeat from ?Action? by Orange Krush, the band led by Larry Smith, Russell?s production partner.
The ?It?s Like That? 12-inch hit the streets on the indie Profile label in the spring of 1983, and ruled beat boxes for the rest of the year, forcing many R&B radio stations to move it from night-time rap ?mix shows? (where it lit up the switchboards) into day-time regular rotation.
After 250,000 copies were sold (Profile?s biggest seller), the road beckoned with real money offers, so Run recruited his old basketball teammate and DJ pal Jason Mizell, who performed as Jazzy Jase. Audiences got their first taste ? and look ? at the Run-DMC trio and were hooked. The ?battering-ram percussion and rough vocals? (as the Village Voice characterized ?It?s Like That?) of Run-DMC?s sparse beats and rhymes was a slap in the face that fans couldn?t get enough of. Run-DMC made the transition to full-length albums with plenty of swagger to spare.
It begins here, the first 12-inch LP on the Profile label, which ?had the same kind of impact on the hip-hop generation that Meet the Beatles had on the rock generation,? as Bill Adler writes. Rap?s first RIAA gold album, released 12 months after Run-DMC?s first single, recapped their first hits, ?It?s Like That? b/w ?Sucker M.C.?s? and the follow-up, ?Hard Times? (Run-DMC?s remake of a song cut by Kurtis Blow in 1980) b/w ?Jam Master Jay? (a tribute to their deejay and one-man band, ?Jam Master Jay, the Big Beat Blaster?). More significantly, it was the third single that broke new ground for them, ?Rock Box,? a rap-rock hybrid idea from producer Larry Smith, featuring Blondie guitarist Eddie Martinez. ?That is the record that makes us Hendrix,? Smith told Adler. ?Not ?King of Rock.? Not ?Walk This Way.? That?s the record that took us out of the hood.? Even as they paid homage to the rappers who preceded them, their debut album solidified Run-DMC?s position as the new ringleaders at the pinnacle of hip-hop.
RUN-D.M.C. (Profile/Arista/Legacy 82876 69560 2, originally issued March 1984, as Profile 1202) Selections: 1. Hard Times ? 2. Rock Box ? 3. Jam-Master Jay ? 4. Hollis Crew (Krush-Groove 2) ? 5. Sucker M.C.?s (Krush-Groove 1) ? 6. It?s Like That ? 7. Wake Up ? 8. 30 Days ? 9. Jay?s Game ? Bonus tracks: 10. Rock Box (B-Boy Mix) (previously unreleased) ? 11. Here We Go (Live At The Fun House) ? 12. Sucker M.C.?s? (Live) (previously unreleased on CD) ? 13. Russell & Larry Running At The Mouth (previously unreleased).
KING OF ROCK
For their second LP, building on the guitar onslaught of ?Rock Box,? Larry Smith and Orange Krush (Run-DMC?s studio ?band,? which was actually Smith, Davy DMX, whoever else came by to play on the strictly low-budget sessions), pumped up the volume on the picture. Here are the ?Sparse, pounding, guitar-heavy beats and street-based look [that] served to reflect and amplify the raw intensity of the lyrics,? as Andrew Graham writes. That three of the titles connected to rock was intentional ? ?Rock The House,? ?King Of Rock,? and ?Can You Rock It Like This? (note LL Cool J?s co-writing credit!) ? as Run-DMC sought to drive home the fact that they were indeed, rocking harder than anything MTV and Top 40 radio had to offer circa 1985. ?Roots, Rap, Reggae? featuring reggae/dancehall legend Yellowman, might just be the first collaboration of its kind on a rap album. Graham calls upon a dazzling array of witnesses to drive home the point that rap?s first RIAA platinum album was a brilliant conception. ?Run-DMC opened the doors for many other people during their time,? DJ Red Alert told Graham. ?Run-DMC took it over the top, and remained over the top for other people to come in after them.? In the summer of Live 8, the live performance of ?King Of Rock? from 1985?s original Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia is a reminder of Run-DMC?s stature at the time ? the only rap group to appear at the event.
KING OF ROCK by RUN-D.M.C.
(Profile/Arista/Legacy 82876 69558 2, originally issued in 1985, as Profile 1205) Selections: 1. Rock The House ? 2. King Of Rock ? 3. You Talk Too Much ? 4. Jam-Master Jammin? ? 5. Roots, Rap, Reggae (special guest appearance by Yellowman) ? 6. Can You Rock It Like This ? 7. You?re Blind ? 8. It?s Not Funny ? 9. Darryl And Joe (Krush-Groove 3) ? Bonus tracks: 10. Slow And Low (previously unreleased) ? 11. Together Forever (Krush-Groove 4) Live ? 12. Jam-Master Jammin? (remix, long version, previously unreleased) ? 13. King Of Rock (Live from Live Aid) (previously unreleased on CD).
If RUN-D.M.C. and KING OF ROCK were the ?rich coats of primer that would make way for RAISING HELL?s glistening, nearly three-times platinum-selling sheen,? as Sacha Jenkins proposes, then Aerosmith?s 1975 single, ?Walk This Way? is the spark plug that put the pedal to the metal for this 12-cylinder ride. Run-DMC?s collaboration with Steve Tyler and Joe Perry is etched in hip-hop and rock history (and led to many of the ?Firsts?on the above checklist). But it should never eclipse what truly immortalized this album (produced by Russell and Rick Rubin), starting with ?My Adidas,? a tribute to Run-DMC?s b-boy footwear that earned them the distinction of becoming the first non-athletes to score an endorsement deal with an athletic brand (decades before Jay-Z & Reebok, 50 Cent?s G Unit line, or Pharrell and Missy Elliott?s tennis shoes). ?Peter Piper,? ?It?s Tricky,? and ?You Be Illin?? (proof positive that hip-hop had a wack sense of humor back in the day) made this album a required carry-on for your boom-box or car stereo. With no less than five previously unreleased bonus tracks, this expanded edition is a reminder of how and why Queens was finally able to take the hip-hop trophy away from the Boogie Down Bronx.
RAISING HELL by RUN-D.M.C.
(Profile/Arista/Legacy 82876 69561 2, originally issued in 1986, as Profile 1217) Selections: 1. Peter Piper ? 2. It?s Tricky ? 3. My Adidas ? 4. Walk This Way (featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith) ? 5. Is It Live ? 6. Perfection ? 7. Hit It Run ? 8. Raising Hell ? 9. You Be Illin? ? 10. Dumb Girl ? 11. Son Of Byford ? 12. Proud To Be Black ? Bonus tracks: 13. My Adidas (a cappella) (previously unreleased) ? 14. Walk This Way (demo) (featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith) (previously unreleased) ? 15. Lord Of Lyrics (previously unreleased) ? 16. Raising Hell Radio Tour Spot (previously unreleased) ? 17. Live At The Apollo raw vocal commercial (previously unreleased).
TOUGHER THAN LEATHER
In his liner notes, Chuck D compares the success of RAISING HELL to ?Wilt Chamberlain?s 100-point game. What next? How do you top that? You don?t. Instead, you go another direction.? After a 2-year break between albums ? which encompassed three cross-country headlining tours with the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Whodini ? the house that Run built was the size of a mansion. By the summer of ?88, in support of TTL (produced by Russell) hip-hop?s new theme song was ?Run?s House,? as Chuck D and Public Enemy, with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith), EPMD, the Hollis Crew, Davy DMX and others joined forces for the memorable Run?s House Tour. (Chuck D recalls an audacious move, as the current ?Run?s House? opened Run-DMC?s set, rather than saving it for the middle or end!) Later that summer and fall, it was followed onto the R&B chart by their remake of the Monkees? ?Mary, Mary? and ?I?m Not Going Out Like That? b/w ?How?d Ya Do It Dee.? By that time, Run-DMC and Public Enemy were soaking up Euro acclaim on tour together across the continent. ?I?ve always said that ?Run is the MIND, Jay is the SOUL and DMC is the HEART of RUN-DMC,? Chuck D concludes. ?No past tense. There?s no ?was? when talking about Elvis or the Beatles, so I ain?t using it here. RUN-DMC is the chief architect of hip-hop. So when I say ?Whose house?? ? Y?all know what time it is.?
TOUGHER THAN LEATHER by RUN-DMC (Profile/Arista/Legacy 82876 69559 2, originally issued in 1988, as Profile 1265) Selections: 1. Run?s House ? 2. Mary, Mary ? 3. They Call Us Run-D.M.C. ? 4. Beats To The Rhyme ? 5. Radio Station ? 6. Papa Crazy ? 7. Tougher Than Leather ? 8. I?m Not Going Out Like That ? 9. How?d Ya Do It Dee ? 10. Miss Elaine ? 11. Soul To Rock And Roll ? 12. Ragtime ? Bonus tracks: 13. Beats To The Rhyme (instrumental) (previously unreleased on CD) ? 14. Crack (previously unreleased) ? 15. Christmas In Hollis ? 16. Penthouse Ad (previously unreleased).
The re-releases are much anticipated and do little to disappoint. Every hip hop fan will instantly be taken back to the times when Run DMC were at their all time heights and setting the tone for all future hip hop.
Each album holds many classics, and with the addition of extra previously unreleased tracks, every hip hop lover should get their hands on these albums. It takes you back in time as well as providing new tracks which continue the same vibes.
The recognised 'classics' are all included, such as Walk this way, Mary Mary, It's like that, Rock the house, plus so much more it's impossible to name all the great tracks without mentioning all of them.
There are also some live performances which are full of energy and really do well to remind you of this charasmatic and ground-breaking hip hop act.
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