Run DMC released their certified classic and third studio album “Raising Hell” 30 years ago today. It is considered by many as one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time. It is a collection of 12 of the dopest tracks in Hip Hop History. Every song is dope and it made the forward button useless. It was produced by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin and is nothing short of spectacular!
I was 14 years old when this album came out and I was anxious to go to the record store and buy it on vinyl and cassette (one for home and one for the Walkman). I bought the green one you see on this post, took it home, and I played it for easily 10 hours that day. The album starts off with…
“Now Peter Piper picked peppers but Run rocked rhymes
Humpty Dumpty fell down that’s his hard time
Jack B. Nimble what nimble and he was quick
But Jam Master cut faster Jack’s on Jay’s dick
Now Little Bo Peep cold lost her sheep
And Rip van Winkle fell the hell asleep
And Alice chillin somewhere in Wonderland
Jack’s servin Jill a bucket in his hand
And Jam Master Jay’s making out our sound
The turntables might wobble but they don’t fall down”
…and it never let go! “Peter Piper” is one of the greatest tracks that DJ’s cut up to the bone! Everything from “Peter Piper picked peppers” to “Bad meaning bad but bad meaning good” and “He’s not Flash but he’s fast and his name is Jay”. DJ’s have always practiced on the tables with this track and is the premier track off this album. That “Mardi Gras” beat is used to perfection!
“It’s Tricky” takes the “My Sharona” beat and makes it funky to bump in the ride! The lyrics are positive and the video is as classic as they get! The combo of Run DMC and Penn & Teller is as NY as it gets!
“My Adidas” is not only an anthem for the dopest Hip Hop kicks of all time, but it served as a way for Run DMC to be the first rappers with a shoe endorsement! The track sold me on the shoe and by the end of 1986 I had 3 pairs and yes…I wore them without laces. The key for the shoes to stay on? Buy them 1/2 a size smaller.
“Me and my Adidas do the illest things
we like to stomp out pimps with diamond rings
we slay all suckers who perpetrate
and lay down law from state to state
we travel on gravel, dirt road or street
I wear my Adidas when I rock the beat
on stage front page every show I go
it’s Adidas on my feet high top or low”
At the end of “My Adidas” the beat blends in to the Aerosmith cover of “Walk This Way” with Steve Tyler on vocals and Joe Perry on guitar. It bridged the gap between rock and rap and it brought in a whole new set of people that love Run DMC. It was not their first try with rock/rap, since “Rock Box” and “King Of Rock” had been the predecessors. This is one of the greatest moments in Hip Hop History!
Tracks 5 and 6 are “Is It Live” and “Perfection” respectively. “Is It Live” has Run and D rhyming over a funky beat while “Pefection” has them rappin over a live drum beat.
Run beatboxes his way thru “Hit It Run” while D gets on the mic and represents!
“I… was… straight from the start performing art
Climbin up the chart while others fall apart
The three outlaws in the music trade
We won’t rob but our job is to get paid
Cause Run has fun if Jay will play
As I add one more rhyme to say
Now how devastating can an MC be?
My name is Darryl, but you can call me D
HIT IT RUN!”
The title track is as hard as Run DMC tracks can get. The tracks bumps with a dope drum beat and rocks hard with a heavy guitar riff. The blend is genius and is one of the greatest tracks off not only this album but off their large catalog.
“Lord of lyrics, duke of discussion
Ruler of rock, and king at cold-crushin
Puller of people – controller of crowds
Lingering lyrics, long-lasting and loud”
“You Be Illin” brings us the comedy on this album. It’s about a guy that gets everything mixed up. He wants a Big Mac at KFC, yells “touchdown” at a basketball game, and lastly eats dog food by accident! “Talkin’ ’bout my mom!? Talkin’ ’bout my mom!?”
Back in 1986, everyone wanted a Nissan mini truck to put huge speakers in the bed and bump tracks like “Dumb Girl“. The bass is heavy and Run and D talk about that girl that was only out for one thing while giving up the goods.
“(NOW..) Now you’re the flyest girl, in the whole school
but they don’t call you fly – they call you fool
Because you don’t go to class, you will not pass
You like to go but you should slow because you’re goin too fast
And I can tell that you’re dumb when you walk in the place
Walkin round with your thumb cold stuck in your face
Always sinnin never winnin cause you’re last in the race
You get high and tell a lie and think that makes you the ace
DUMB GIRL.. (stupid!) THE GIRL IS..”
The final track is “Proud to be Black” which would make MLK proud himself. The track is full of positivity and brings the album to a close.
“There was a man – an inventor – who invented so well
He invented a fortune – for a man named Bell
George Washington Carver, made the peanut great
Showed any man with a mind, could create
You read about Malcolm X – in the history text
Jesse Owens broke records, Ali broke necks
What’s wrong with ya man? How can you be so dumb?
LIKE DR. KING SAID, WE SHALL OVERCOME!”
The album is perfect in every way. It was one of the last classic albums that did not rely heavily on samples and came as original as possible. This album will always be one of my favorites and it made my sophomore year in high school that much more memorable. We salute you Run DMC and Jam Master Jay! RIP JMJ