It's Tricky

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"It's Tricky"
Its Tricky.jpg
Single by Run–D.M.C.
from the album Raising Hell
B-side Proud to Be Black
Released February 8, 1987
Format Vinyl
Recorded 1986
Genre Hip hop, rap rock
Length 3:03
Label Profile
Writer(s) Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, Doug Fieger, Berton Averre
Producer(s) Rick Rubin, Run–D.M.C.
Run–D.M.C. singles chronology
"You Be Illin'"
"It's Tricky"
"Christmas In Hollis"

"It's Tricky" is the final single released from Run–D.M.C.'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 #16 on the UK Singles Chart upon its original release and #74 in 1998, while the Jason Nevins remix of their song "It's Like That" spent its fifth week at #1.[1] Two decades after the song's release, The Knack sued Run-D.M.C. on the grounds "It's Tricky" sampled their song "My Sharona" without permission.[2]

Single track listing[edit]

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

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–D.M.C. 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–D.M.C. 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–D.M.C. the chance to perform.


This 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.[3][4][5]

Cover versions[edit]

The Bloodhound Gang covered the song on their second album One Fierce Beer Coaster.

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their eponymous 2007 video game. In this version, they changed the lyric "coke and lots of dope" to "sweets and lots of treats."

The German punk band Itchy Poopzkid covered the song on their fourth album Lights Out London. They released the cover as the third single from the album.

Jackyl covered the song on their 2012 studio album Best in Show.

A big beat remix of the song was released by English dance producer DJ Fresh in March 2014 for use in a TV advert for streaming service Blinkbox Music.[6]

K-pop group BTS (band) did a dance cover of the song.

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "RUN D.M.C.". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ ""My Sharona" Writers Sue Run DMC For Sampling "It's Tricky"". September 18, 2006. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ It's Tricky - Run-D.M.C.
  4. ^ analysis
  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. ^ Mortimer, Natalie (14 March 2014). "Tesco rolls out multimillion pound marketing drive for blinkbox music streaming". Retrieved 11 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Pereira, Chris (August 14, 2015). "WWE 2K16's Soundtrack Features Marilyn Manson, MGK, Run DMC, No John Cena". GameSpot. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 

External links[edit]