Run–D.M.C. (album)

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Studio album by Run–D.M.C.
Released March 27, 1984
Recorded 1983 at Greene Street Recording in New York City
Genre East Coast hip hop, Hardcore hip hop
Length 39:27
Label Profile, Arista
Producer Russell Simmons, Larry Smith
Run–D.M.C. chronology
King of Rock
(1985)King of Rock1985

Run–D.M.C. is the debut studio album of American hip hop group Run–D.M.C.. Produced in 1984, it was considered groundbreaking for its time, presenting a harder, more aggressive form of hip hop. The album's sparse beats and aggressive rhymes were in sharp contrast with the light, funky sound that was popular in hip hop at the time. With the album, the group has been regarded by music writers as pioneering the movement of new school hip hop of the mid-1980s.[1] The album was reissued as a "Deluxe Edition" in 2005 with four bonus tracks.

Reception and influence[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork 8.1/10[5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[7]
The Source 5/5[8]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10[9]
Uncut 4/5 stars[10]
The Village Voice A−[11]

Debby Miller of Rolling Stone complimented Run–D.M.C.'s boasts about "messages that self-improvement is the only ticket out" and viewed their style as a departure from most hip hop acts at the time, stating "they get into a vocal tug of war that's completely different from the straightforward delivery of the Furious Five's Melle Mel or the everybody-takes-a-verse approach of groups like Sequence. And the music [...] that backs these tracks is surprisingly varied, for all its bare bones".[6] In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, critic Robert Christgau described it as "easily the canniest and most formally sustained rap album ever, a tour de force I trust will be studied by all manner of creative downtowners and racially enlightened Englishmen".[11] Christgau commented on the group's "heavy staccato and proud disdain for melody", writing that "the style has been in the New York air long enough that you may understand it better than you think".[11]

The album has been regarded by music writers as one of early hip hop's best albums and a landmark release of the new school hip hop movement in the 1980s.[11][12] According to journalist Peter Shapiro, the album's 1983 double-single release "It's like That"/"Sucker MCs" "completely changed hip-hop [...] rendering everything that preceded it distinctly old school with one fell swoop."[12][13] Run–D.M.C. rapped over the most sparse of musical backing tracks in hip hop at the time. "Sucker MCs" features a loud drum machine and a few scratches, with rhymes that harangued weak rappers and contrasted them to the group's success.[13] "It's like That" is an aggressively delivered message rap whose social commentary has been defined variously as "objective fatalism",[11] "frustrated and renunciatory",[14] and just plain "reportage".[5]

In 1989, the album was ranked number 51 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.[15] In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.[16] In 2003, the album was ranked number 242 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[17]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Sample(s) Length
1. "Hard Times"
  • Bralower
  • Moore
  • R.Simmons
  • Smith
  • Waring
2. "Rock Box"
  • McDaniels
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
3. "Jam-Master Jay"
  • McDaniels
  • Mizell
  • J.Simmons
"Scratchin'" by Magic Disco Machine 3:11
4. "Hollis Crew (Krush-Groove 2)"
  • McDaniels
  • Mizell
  • J.Simmons
  • R.Simmons
5. "Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1)"
  • N.S.Hardy, Jr.
  • McDaniels
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
"Live at the Disco Fever" by Lovebug Starski 3:09
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "It's Like That"
  • McDaniels
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
2. "Wake Up"
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
  • R.Simmons
  • Hayden
3. "30 Days"
  • D.Simmons
  • Smith
  • Moore
4. "Jay's Game"
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
  • Mizell
  • R.Simmons
Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
10. "Rock Box (B-Boy Mix)" 5:52
11. "Here We Go [Live at the Funhouse]" 4:06
12. "Sucker M.C.'s (Live at Graffiti Rock)" 3:25
13. "Russell & Larry Running at the Mouth" 4:37



Sampled use[edit]

Chart positions[edit]


Chart (1984) Peak
US Billboard 200[18] 53
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[18] 14


Year Single Chart positions
US Dance
1983 "It's Like That" 15
1984 "Hard Times" / "Jam Master Jay" 11
"Rock Box" 26
"30 Days" 16
"Hollis Crew (Krush Groove 2)" 65


  1. ^ Toop, p. xi
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C.". AllMusic. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (December 2, 1990). "A Rundown On The Recording History Of Run-d.m.c.". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2584. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b Miller, Debby (August 30, 1984). "Run-D.M.C.". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  7. ^ Tate, Greg (2004). "Run–D.M.C.". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 708–09. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  8. ^ The Source. New York (150). March 2002. 
  9. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Run–D.M.C.". Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  10. ^ Uncut. London (78): 130. November 2003. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Christgau, Robert (April 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Shapiro, p.327
  13. ^ a b Shapiro, p. 401
  14. ^ Rose, Tricia. "'Fear of a Black Planet': Rap Music and Black Cultural Politics in the 1990s", The Journal of Negro Education, Summer 1991.
  15. ^ Product Notes – Run–D.M.C.. Muze. Retrieved on 2011-02-08.
  16. ^ The Source: 100 Best Rap Albums. Rocklist. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  17. ^ Staff (November 2003). 500 Greatest Albums: Run-DMC – Run-DMC. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2011-02-08.
  18. ^ a b c d "Run-D.M.C. Chart Positions". AllMusic. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 

External links[edit]