Tougher Than Leather

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For the Run–D.M.C. film, see Tougher Than Leather (film). For the Willie Nelson album, see Tougher Than Leather (Willie Nelson album).
Tougher Than Leather
Tougher Than Leather.jpg
Studio album by Run–D.M.C.

United States May 17, 1988
United Kingdom September 16, 1988,

Recorded 1987-1988
Genre Golden age hip hop, rap rock
Length 40:26
Label Profile Records
Producer Run–D.M.C., Davy DMX, Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons
Run–D.M.C. chronology
Raising Hell
Tougher Than Leather
Back from Hell
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B+ [3]
Pitchfork Media (6.4/10)[4] 3.5/5 stars[5]

Tougher Than Leather is the fourth studio album from American hip hop group Run–D.M.C., released on May 17, 1988. While the new record did not maintain the same popularity as its predecessor, it obtained platinum status and spawned the favorites "Run's House" and "Mary, Mary" (built around a sample from The Monkees' song). Despite being given a mixed reception at the time of its release, it is now hailed as a seminal classic in hip-hop and many see it as an underrated album.

In response to albums such as Eric B. & Rakim's Paid In Full, Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, and Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded and By All Means Necessary, the group made a distinct departure from their earlier work, as Jam-Master Jay used a heavier amount of sampling. Run and DMC also made changes in their rapping style (heavily influenced by Rakim) as techniques such as alliteration, polysyllabic rhyming, and internal rhyme are found in songs like "I'm Not Going Out Like That," "Radio Station," and the title track. The group also introduces storytelling to their arsenal in "Ragtime." Despite this, Run-D.M.C. does not abandon their formula of combining hip-hop beats with hard rock guitar riffs, using it in "Miss Elaine," the title track, "Soul To Rock And Roll," and "Mary, Mary."

Tougher Than Leather was the group's fourth effort and blended in elements of not only rap but also rock n' roll and funk, making it their most varied effort to date alongside King of Rock. "Papa Crazy" is based on "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by The Temptations.


A film of the same name, starring the members of Run-D.M.C. and their producer, Rick Rubin, was also released in 1988.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Run's House" – 3:49
  2. "Mary, Mary" – 3:12 (produced by Rick Rubin)[6]
  3. "They Call Us Run-D.M.C." – 2:56
  4. "Beats To The Rhyme" – 2:43
  5. "Radio Station" – 2:50
  6. "Papa Crazy" – 4:18
  7. "Tougher Than Leather" – 4:20
  8. "I'm Not Going Out Like That" – 4:55
  9. "How'd Ya Do It Dee" – 3:20
  10. "Miss Elaine" – 3:05
  11. "Soul To Rock And Roll" – 2:17
  12. "Ragtime" – 2:42

Deluxe edition bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Beats To The Rhyme" (Previously Unreleased Instrumental) - 2:44
  2. "Crack" (Previously Unreleased) - 1:43
  3. "Christmas In Hollis" - 2:58
  4. "Penthouse Ad" - 0:58


Chart positions[edit]


Chart (1988) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[7] 38
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[8] 51
New Zealand RIANZ Album Chart[9] 43
UK Albums Chart[10] 13
US Billboard 200[11] 9
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[11] 2


Year Single Chart positions
US Dance
US Dance Sales
1988 "Run's House" 10 401 301 83 37
"Mary, Mary" 75 29 18 83 14 86
"I'm Not Going Out Like That" 40


  • 1 - Charted with "Beats To The Rhyme"


  1. ^ Henderson, Alex. Tougher Than Leather at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  2. ^ Rolling Stone 14 July 1988
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. Run D.M.C.. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  4. ^ Pitchfork Media Run D.M.C. review
  5. ^ "Run-D.M.C". Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  6. ^ "Run-DMC - Tougher Than Leather (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  7. ^ a b "Discography Run DMC". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ "RPM Weekly Searchable Database". Billboard. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Discography Run DMC". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  10. ^ "UK Top 40 Searchable Database". Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Run-D.M.C. Chart Positions (Allmusic)". Billbord. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Run–D.M.C. discography". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 

External links[edit]