It's Tricky

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"It's Tricky"
Its Tricky.jpg
Single by Run-DMC
from the album Raising Hell
B-side"Proud to Be Black"
ReleasedFebruary 8, 1987
Recorded1986
Genre
Length3:03
LabelProfile
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Run-DMC singles chronology
"You Be Illin'"
(1986)
"It's Tricky"
(1987)
"Christmas In Hollis"
(1987)
Music video
"It's Tricky" on YouTube

"It's Tricky" is the fourth single released from Run-DMC's third album, Raising Hell. It was released early in 1987 through Profile Records and was co-produced by Rick Rubin and the group themselves. The song peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. In the UK, the song made No. 16 on the UK Singles Chart upon its original release and No. 74 upon being remixed by Jason Nevins in 1998, while Nevins' remix of their song "It's Like That" spent its fifth week at No. 1.[1] Nevins' remix, "(It's) Tricky", achieved top 40 peaks elsewhere in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.[2] Two decades after the song's release, The Knack sued Run-DMC on the grounds "It's Tricky" sampled their song "My Sharona" without permission.[3]

Background[edit]

Run-D.M.C's previous studio album King of Rock had established the group's fusion of hip-hop and hard rock, which blossomed on Raising Hell. This was due in part to the presence of Rick Rubin as their record producer. Rubin had an affinity for metal and rap in equal measures and he knew how to play to the strengths of both. At the same time, he slipped in commercial concessions that came off as sly even when they borrowed from familiar songs, such as "My Sharona" on the single "It's Tricky."[4] The song contains samples of "My Sharona" by The Knack, as well as the entire vocal structure from "Mickey" by Toni Basil. The Knack sued Run-DMC over the track in 2006, and the lawsuit was settled out of court.[5]

Composition[edit]

"Its Tricky" is a song that lasts a duration of three minutes and three seconds. The track contains samples of "My Sharona" by The Knack and "Mickey" by Toni Basil.[6] The song's lyrics feature a delivery of quick-paced witticisms and yelling booming threats.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone writer Mark Kemp remarked, "It's Tricky" cribs the guitar part from the Knack's "My Sharona," a fatuous New Wave song, and turns it into vital street art."[8] Pitchfork's Tom Breihan claimed, "Run and DMC had also stepped their rap game up; "It's Tricky" is basically as good as the two of them ever got, spitting quick-tongue witticisms and yelling booming threats with equal abandon."[7] Time writer stated the song serves "to prove their ferocity."[9] Commenting on the crossover appeal, AllMusic's stated, "Rubin loved metal and rap in equal measures and he knew how to play to the strengths of both, while slipping in commercial concessions that seemed sly even when they borrowed from songs as familiar as "My Sharona."[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video features Penn and Teller, who are hustling a group of people with a game of three-card Monte in front of the Rialto Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Run-DMC are called and shut their business down by winning every hand they play. Penn then asks the group if they can teach them to dance, which they do after insisting that Penn and Teller change their clothes. The video ends with Run-DMC showing up to a gig in Japan six months later, where they find the duo impersonating them; unable to tell the difference, the concert promoters deny Run-DMC the chance to perform.

Usage in media[edit]

The song is used in the promotional clip for the FX television series Snowfall, which began airing in July 2017.[10] The original song appeared in the movies Road Trip, Can't Hardly Wait, Turbo, White Chicks and The Bounty Hunter and in the video games SSX Tricky, WWE 2K16, Forza Horizon 3, and SSX.

Track listing[edit]

7-inch

  • A. "It's Tricky" – 3:02
  • B. "Proud to Be Black" – 3:14

12-inch

  • A1. "It's Tricky" (Club Mix) – 7:19
  • A2. "Up Tempo" – 2:35
  • B1. "It's Tricky" (Remix) – 4:31
  • B2. "It's Tricky" (Scratchapella) – 3:51
  • B3. "Tricky Reprise" – 2:54
  • B4. "Proud to Be Black" – 3:14

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Run DMC: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  3. ^ ""My Sharona" Writers Sue Run DMC For Sampling "It's Tricky"". Chartattack.com. September 18, 2006. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Raising Hell – Run-D.M.C." AllMusic. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling
    "I just changed the chorus around and we just talked about how this rap business can be tricky to a brother."
  6. ^ Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling
    "I just changed the chorus around and we just talked about how this rap business can be tricky to a brother."
  7. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (September 22, 2005). "Run-D.M.C.: Run-DMC / King of Rock / Raising Hell / Tougher Than Leather". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  8. ^ Kemp, Mark (September 5, 2002). "Run-D.M.C.: Raising Hell". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on November 7, 2004. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  9. ^ Light, Alan (2006-11-02). "Raising Hell". Time.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  10. ^ Jeng, Jonah (May 11, 2017). "FX Crack Cocaine Drama Snowfall Receives Two Exuberant New Promos". Paste. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 4 no. 24. June 20, 1987. p. 15. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  12. ^ "Run DMC: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  13. ^ "Run DMC Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  14. ^ "Run DMC Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Run DMC – It's Tricky". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  17. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 18. May 2, 1998. p. 11. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins: (It's) Tricky" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  21. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  23. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 15 no. 18. May 2, 1998. p. 13. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  24. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (14.5. – 21.5. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). May 15, 1998. p. 22. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 17, 1998" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  26. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  27. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  28. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky". VG-lista. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  30. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  31. ^ "Run-D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevins – (It's) Tricky". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  32. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  33. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 1998". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved May 24, 2020.

External links[edit]