Run DMC – “King of Rock” Album Anniversary

Run DMC – “King of Rock” Album Anniversary

Run DMC released their second studio album on January 21, 1985.  The album was produced by legendary producer Larry Smith.  The album is the follow-up to Run DMC’s classic and groundbreaking self titled album.  The album contains mostly guitar-rock riffs and even dabbles into reggae.  The album sold 2 million records and was the first rap album to reach that mark.

The album’s songs:

  1. “Rock the House” – 2:42
  2. “King of Rock” – 5:14
  3. “You Talk Too Much” – 5:59
  4. “Jam-Master Jammin'” – 4:20
  5. “Roots, Rap, Reggae”  – 3:12
  6. “Can You Rock It Like This” – 4:30
  7. “You’re Blind” – 5:31
  8. “It’s Not Funny” – 5:35
  9. “Darryl and Joe (Krush-Groove 3)” – 6:39

“Rock the House” gives us a megamix of sorts with JMJ on the turntables mixing up the next track “King of Rock”.  That’s correct!  Rock not Rap! The guitar riffs come in and give it that attitude so Run and D can tell the world they are better than any crew in Hip Hop.  The song famously begins,

“I’m the king of rock, there is none higher
Sucker MC’s should call me sire
To burn my kingdom, you must use fire
I won’t stop rockin’ till I retire
Now we rock the party and come correct
All cuts are on time and rhymes connect
Got the right to vote and will elect
And other rappers can’t stand us, but give us respect!”

“You Talk Too Much” is a classic Run DMC track where they talk about that person that just won’t “Shut up!”.  They use this formula later with “It’s Not Funny”, “You Be Illin” and others.  The video is hilarious especially when Run at the beginning of the video is talking in “jive” while it is interpreted in English at the bottom of the screen.

The 4th track, “Jam Master Jammin” is another tribute to their late DJ Jam Master Jay.

“He’s a one-man band, in his own right
Jam Master jams to the broad daylight
No instruments needed, just two record players
A stage, a crowd, and two rhyme sayers”

Then we get to hear “Roots, Rap, Reggae” where Run and D try (yes…try) to flow over a slow reggae beat with Yellowman contributing on the chorus.  It is not the first time rap and reggae get thrown in the mix together, but it just feels forced and does not fit the Run DMC “Big Beat” and guitars formula.

The LL Cool J written “Can You Rock It Like This” gives us that power punch on side 2 of the album!  The beat is mesmerizing with the duo spitting about the downsides of being famous.

“News reporters, invade my borders
If I think it I will say it, you might have a recorder
And then, UHH-OHH, the nation’s in upheaval
Old ladies always looking at me evil
You’re stepping on my heels, you’re breathing down my neck
I’m not Rodney Dangerfield, so give me respect!”

“You’re Blind” goes back to the days of “It’s Like That” with conscious lyrics like these:

“You’re headed for the top, or so you think
But that’s not true for you, your life is on the brink
Of self-destruction, total corruption
You better get out or die from consumption
Sweat for a dollar, to get nothin back
Cause at the end of the week, you still get taxed
You’d even sell your soul to make your life correct
But with the rate of inflation you should eat your check
So you try to make a hustle, to get ahead
But the only thing you manage is to stay in the red
Coppin from John, to sell to Rex
And your jones for success has put your life in check”

“It’s Not Funny” is a track about everyday mishaps where “Murphy’s Law” comes and ruins your day!

“IT’S NOT FUNNY – when you buy a TV off the street
You take it home, plug it in, BAM, you got beat
IT’S NOT FUNNY – when you buy a house with all you got
And the day you go to see it it’s a vacant lot
IT’S NOT FUNNY!”

But Run, D and Jay leave the best for last!  “Darryl and Joe” is one of Run DMC’s most beloved songs.  The track has a simple “Big Beat” drum beat with Jam Master Jay cutting it up like only a Jam Master can!  It is a true old school track where all three display their talents through almost 7 minutes of pure dopeness.  Just like they did with “Sucker MC’s” and “Hollis Crew” they give us memorable lines like:

“I’m the rapper of the year and this the year of the rap
And I’m never drinkin beer, it’s champagne at the tap
And I’m cold makin money on a regular basis
Pullin out, knockin sucker MC faces
Travel round the world with my mind at ease
No Calvin Klein, just wearin Lee’s
Got credit in countries I’ve never been
Cause the records I write are in the top ten
The top of the chart, is where I stay
But I also chill, around the way
In Hollis, Queens, is where I stop
On the streets with the beats is where I walk”

DMC comes with his own fire when he spits,

“When I perform, many hearts I warm
I’m better known, as the Quiet Storm
I don’t talk too much but I got beef
When I kill MC’s, I cause grief
Devestating mic control is my main goal
My name is Darryl, and his name is (Joe)
The Master of music his name is Jay
Leave us alone, and let us play
We give it up, and turn it loose
We’re not like Dr. Seuss or Mother Goose
Sucker MC’s like punks who are picking flowers
Go for yours, WE WENT FOR OURS!”

And to finish the tour-de-force…Jay finishes the track with the last 3 minutes all for him to scratch and mix and it is impressive!  The “Jam Master” name is just not a name but a title!

The album is not Run DMC’s best, but it is the meat between 2 classics and is beloved by many!  The 2005 remastered version does include “Slow and Low” which was later given to the Beastie Boys and would’ve fit nicely on this album.  If you love Run DMC, you definitely love and have this album…on wax!

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