Run D.M.C. – Down with the King

Run D.M.C. released their sixth studio album “Down with the King” on May 4, 1993. The album was produced by various artists including Pete Rock, EPMD, Q-Tip, Kay Gee, The Bomb Squad and others. The album was their last album released on Profile Records.

After listening to “Back from Hell“, you started getting that awkward feeling that maybe it was time for the “Kings of Rap” to call it a career.  Gangsta rap was flooding the streets and their style of Hip hop had started to become obsolete.  It was like watching Willie Mays play for the Mets at the age of 42.  Then we hear a Pete Rock track that made us think twice.  The production and video were bananas and stands as one of the greatest moments in Hip hop history.  The video has practically everybody in the Hip Hop community that resides in New York (and Eazy-E) appear in the video.  The one voice that stands out in almost every Run DMC track is DMC’s.

I’m takin’ the tours, I’m wreckin’ the land
I keep it hardcore because it’s dope man
These are the roughest toughest words I ever wrote down
Not mean for a ho like a slow jam, check it
Sucka emcees could never swing with D
Because of all the things that I bring with me
Only G-O-D could be a king to me
And if the G-O-D be in me, then the king I be
The microphone is granted when it’s handed to me
I was planted on this planet and I plan to emcee
The emcee fiends only seem to agree
That I rock all the world and the society
I rages on the stages with a tune of verse
I get praises from these pages to the universe
My voice is raw, my lyrics is law
I keep it hardcore like you never saw

The Bomb Squad produced the dope and infectious track “Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do” where again, DMC kills it sounding like a member of Onyx.  It’s sucks that his powerful voice was partially silenced.  It makes no sense, but then, what does?

A vain from my brain means I’m causin em pain
Comin rough with the stuff that’s just a part of the game
The rhymes have been hard since the start of the jam
So I’mma pull my jammy out and I’mma murder the man
Bust a rap like a cap, put a hole in your soul
Take the trigger then you figured that I’m losin control
I go loco with the vocals, yo goes the chokehold
And I broke those pros with the dope flows
I slow rolls, NO I don’t smoke those
Leave the blunts for the punks in front rows
I said mine, headline or deadline
You see redline, here comes your bedtime
I lay it down, lay it low
Now I’m off and runnin on some new rhyme flow
I flex break necks bust tecs mic checks son
Fill you full of lead and now get ready for the next one

Can I Get a Witness” sounds like a cross between a Public Enemy track mixed with a slick rick track.  It was produced by Jermaine Dupri and after listening to the first half of the album, you start to think that the Run DMC mystique has run it’s course and they found a way to reinvent themselves.  They can wear gangsta gear and say gangster rhymes, but we will always visually remember them for their Adidas and fedoras as Run spits at the beginning of this track.

New jacks better back up, before they get smacked up
By the R-U-N-D-M-C (that’s where it’s at cuz)
Known as the tough cats, kickin tough rough raps
In jeans, leather jackets, my Adidas and gangster hats
A lot of flare, yo here we go
I’m tired of brothers tryin to front like they don’t hear me though
Knowin if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be able
Cause I’m the man with the hand that rocked the cradle, uhh
A lot of punk for the chunk baby that’s a bet
Album number seven and we still ain’t finished yet
I didn’t get old, I got better at the craft
Sat back and watched you try to kick it but you made us laugh
So get back, you already had your chance to dance
You proved you had no waist to fit in this man’s pants
Word to God, I’m back fo’ sho’
Hollis Queens gettin wreck so act like you know

I remember my friends listening to this album and saying that Run DMC had sold out. We need to remember that when someone doesn’t chamge with the times, they end up being left behind.  So when Q-Tip contributes on “Come On Everybody” and Kay Gee  brings the “Naughty By Nature” beats on “Hit ’em Hard” they were findings ways to belong to the new crop of MC’s, but the album felt so unbalanced.  The Pete Rock tracks were dope, but nothing compared to the title track.

Enter “Can I Get It, Yo“.  This track is probably the dopest track on this album besides the title track.  It was produced by EPMD and both Erick and Parrish can be heard in the background and even JMJ drops of couple of dope bars!

My name is Jay, the Jam Master, gettin loose
2Pac had some, but now I got the _Juice_
I’m gettin stupid, you wonder why I’m ill?
Cause I’ve been around, and still got these skills
* Jay cuts “one one one” * two mic check gettin wreck
A real street nigga, so yo show respect
I make you wanna JUMP JUMP around wicked
Run-D.M.C., and Jam Master kickin it
With the flow that’s slow cause I’m good to go
Still rock a show, gettin dough, and aiyyo (aiyyo)
Straight from Hollis, Queens, yeah you heard me
“Jayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” Peace, arreviderci

Over a Manzel’sMidnight Theme” drum pattern, Run, D and J all get behind the mic and remind everybody that as much as their time has passed, they still are far from passing on the crown to anybody else.

Still the King of Rock, ho around the tick-tock
Rappers sweatin Joseph Simmons, ever since I dropped _Rock Box_
Multiplatinum, waxin em while I’m maxin em
“Who’s House?” God’s House, so chill while I’m taxin em

Rappers poppin mad smack, about the King of Rap
Ten million sold, SEVEN DIGIT CONTRACT

JMJ, gettin busy on the crossfader
Beats hardcore, diesel like the Schwarzeneggar

[Parrish] Respect the black crown
[Sermon] Sounds underground
[D.M.C.] Any stage they built
[Joseph] Run tore it down!

This album is a rejuvenation for the Kings, but in reality is was their last great effort. “Crown Royal” was not even close to any of their previous efforts and with DMC losing his voice and being limited on the album, this album is their last big hurrah. JMJ then get’s murdered and with that their reign is over in Hip Hop.  I have a soft spot for these guys, but i can tell you that nobody will ever do what they did for Hip Hop.    They will forever be the greatest rap group in Hip Hop history.  Nuff said!!!

-Al E.

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