Down with the King (album)

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Down with the King
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 4, 1993
GenreHardcore rap, jazz rap, gangsta rap, East Coast hip hop
Arista Records (reissue of the album since 1999)
ProducerPete Rock, Q-Tip, EPMD, KayGee, Jam Master Jay, The Bomb Squad, Daniel Shulman, Run-D.M.C., Chyskills, Jermaine Dupri, Clifton "Specialist" Dillon
Run-D.M.C. chronology
Back from Hell
Down with the King
Crown Royal
Singles from Down with the King
  1. "Down with the King"
    Released: March 2, 1993
  2. "Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do"
    Released: June 1993

Down with the King is the sixth studio album by American hip hop group Run-D.M.C., released on May 4, 1993, by Profile Records. The album was produced by Pete Rock, Q-Tip, EPMD, DJ Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature, Jam Master Jay, The Bomb Squad, Daniel Shulman, Run-D.M.C., Chyskills, Jermaine Dupri and Clifton "Specialist" Dillon.

Showcasing their evolving style, this innovative album boasted invited guests, including reggae star Mad Cobra and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. The album features guest appearances from rappers Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Q-Tip, EPMD and Onyx. Down with the King was generally received more favorably by fans and critics than the group's previous album, Back from Hell.

Thanks to the title track, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA after only two months, July 20, 1993. Down with the King peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard 200, and number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.

The album features three Billboard singles: "Down with the King", "Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do" and "Can I Get It, Yo". The title track also hit the UK Singles Chart.[1]

The album was reissued by Arista Records in 1999 and 2003.


With the release of the new album, Run-D.M.C. created a new look: black jail suits, black Timberlands and bald heads. DMC replaced traditional glasses with contact lenses and began to wear around his neck a large black wooden cross. Run started wearing sunglasses. Jay began to wear a designer ski hat by April Walker to cover his own bald head.[2]

The album was recorded and mixed at 9 studios in New York City and at 1 studio in Atlanta ("Can I Get A Witness").

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Consumer GuideB+[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB[5]
Los Angeles Times[6]
Rolling Stone[10]
The Source3.5/5[12]

The album received positive reviews. Jason Lymangrover from AllMusic said "The new sound is decidedly more fashionable, and their fedoras and Adidas are abandoned here for bald heads and baggy black hoodies to match their new gangsta musical direction; which takes an obvious cue from Onyx (signed to Jam Master Jay's label), whose "Slam" was a platinum hit earlier in 1993."[13]

Rolling Stone (6/24/93, p. 83) gave Down with the King three and a half stars out of five, saying "...straight-faced and ultraconfident, funky and forthright...[has] the same infectious enthusiasm and the same in-your-face attitude as Run-DMC's raw earlier classics..."[14]

Entertainment Weekly (5/7/93, p. 56) gave the album "B", saying "...they still manage to sound young, lean, and hungry after 10 years in the rap game...."[15]

Gil Griffin from The Washington Post praised the album by saying:

On "In the House", Run and DMC rap references to their old hits, including "My Adidas", while the rock guitar-powered "Big Willie" makes one long for the power chords and tag-team shouts of 1985's classic cut "King of Rock". But looking forward and taking a cue from Naughty by Nature, Run often raps in a style and speed similar to that group's Treach, with DMC joining him to shout the choruses of "Come On Everybody" and "Can I Get It, Yo", something young hip-hoppers from Das EFX to Fu-Schnickens are doing. And the tempo and chorus of "3 in the Head" make it a dead ringer for the Cypress Hill song "Hand on the Pump". Be it mimicry or tribute to the current hip-hop styles, "Down With the King" boasts expert production, and its consistently up-tempo pace makes it the perfect soundtrack for summer parties.[16]


Two video clips were released on songs from the album: "Down With The King" and "Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do". In the video on the title track, which was directed by Marcus Raboy, a lot of rap stars were filmed: Eazy-E, Redman, Kris Kross, Jermaine Dupri, Phife Dawg, Onyx, Salt-n-Pepa, KRS-One, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, MC Lyte, Kid Capri, Das EFX, P.M. Dawn and Naughty by Nature.[17] Onyx also appeared in the video for the song "Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do".

Track listing[edit]

The information about samples was taken from WhoSampled.[18]

# Title Featuring Producer(s) Samples Length
1 "Down With The King" Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth Pete Rock
2 "Come On Everybody" Q-Tip Q-Tip
3 "Can I Get It, Yo" EPMD EPMD
Mr. Bozack (co-producer)
  • Manzel – "Midnight Theme" (1979)
  • Kurtis Blow – "AJ Scratch" (1984)
  • Run-D.M.C. – "Hit It Run" (1986)
4 "Hit 'Em Hard" KayGee
  • Billy Squier – "The Big Beat" (1980)
  • Naughty by Nature – "Uptown Anthem" (1991)
  • Run-D.M.C. – "Rock Box" (1984)
5 "To The Maker" Jam Master Jay 0:24
6 "3 In The Head" The Bomb Squad
7 "Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do" The Bomb Squad
8 "Big Willie" Tom Morello Daniel Shulman and Run-D.M.C.
9 "Three Little Indians" Jam Master Jay and Chyskills
  • Run-D.M.C. – "Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse)" (1985)
  • Kurtis Blow – "AJ Scratch" (1984)
  • Public Enemy – "Public Enemy No. 1" (1987)
  • Run-D.M.C. – "Jam Master Jay" (1984)
10 "In The House" Pete Rock
11 "Can I Get A Witness" Jermaine Dupri
  • LL Cool J – "Going Back to Cali" (1987)
  • Slick Rick – "Lick The Balls" (1988)
  • Manzel – "Midnight Theme" (1979)
  • Fred Wesley and The J.B.'s – "Blow Your Head" (1974)
  • A Tribe Called Quest – "Can I Kick It?" (1990)
  • Run-D.M.C. – "My Adidas" (1986)
12 "Get Open" Onyx Jam Master Jay and Chyskills
  • Lonnie Smith – "Turning Point" (1969)
13 "What's Next" Mad Cobra Clifton "Specialist" Dillon 4:03
14 "Wreck Shop" Pete Rock
  • Tenor Saw – "Ring The Alarm" (1985)
  • Reggie Stepper – "Drum Pan Sound" (1990)
  • Lou Donaldson – "Who's Making Love" (1969)
  • Melvin Bliss – "Synthetic Substitution" (1973)
15 "For 10 Years" Jam Master Jay
  • Lonnie Smith – "Spinning Wheel" (1970)


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
US Billboard 200[19] 7
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[20] 1
UK Albums Chart[21] 44
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[22] 29


Year Single Chart positions
US Rap
US Dance Sales
US R-mic
1993 "Down with the King" 21 9 1 12 33 80 69
"Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do" 78 21 31
"Can I Get It, Yo" 23


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official Singles Chart - Run-D.M.C." Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Born Again : Run DMC in The Source (1993) by Reginald C. Dennis - page 46". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ Robert Christgau review
  5. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  6. ^ Siegmund, Heidi (May 2, 1993). "ALBUM REVIEW". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  7. ^ NME review
  8. ^ Q review
  9. ^ Rap Reviews review
  10. ^ Rolling Stone review
  11. ^ Select review
  12. ^ The Source review
  13. ^ "Run-D.M.C. - Down with the King. AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Rolling Stone. Run-D.M.C. - Down With The King - Album review by Mark Coleman (June 24, 1993) - page 83". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "Entertainment Weekly. Run-D.M.C. - Down With The King - Album review by James Bernard (May 7, 1993) - page 56". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  16. ^ "RECORDINGS: Run-D.M.C. - Down with the King by Gil Griffin (May 12, 1993)". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  17. ^ "Run-D.M.C. Feat. Pete Rock & CL Smooth: Down with the King (1993)". Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  18. ^ "Run-D.M.C. – Down with the King (1993) – Samples on WhoSampled". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "Run-DMC Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  20. ^ "Run-DMC Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  21. ^ "Official Albums Chart - Run-D.M.C. - Down with the King". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  22. ^ "RPM Weekly Searchable Database". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  23. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  24. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "Hot Rap Songs". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  26. ^ "Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  27. ^ "Rhythmic Songs". Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  28. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart - Run-D.M.C." Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Run-D.M.C. – Down with the King". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]