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Run-D.M.C. (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 27, 1984
StudioGreene Street Recording, New York City, New York
LabelProfile, Arista
ProducerRussell Simmons, Larry Smith
Run–D.M.C. chronology
King of Rock
Singles from Run–D.M.C.
  1. "It's Like That / Sucker M.C.'s"
    Released: 1983
  2. "Hard Times / Jam Master Jay"
    Released: December 11, 1983
  3. "Rock Box"
    Released: April 16, 1984
  4. "30 Days"
    Released: 1984
  5. "Hollis Crew (Krush Groove 2)"
    Released: 1984

Run–D.M.C. is the debut studio album of American hip hop group Run–D.M.C., released on March 27, 1984 by Profile Records. The album was produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith.

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]

Run-D.M.C. peaked at number 53 on the US Billboard 200, and number 14 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. The album became the first rap album, which was certified as Gold by the RIAA (December 17, 1984).[2][3][4]

The album features five the Billboard singles: "It's Like That", "Hard Times", "Rock Box", "30 Days" and "Hollis Crew". The first single from this album, "It's Like That", released on March 12, 1983, opened a new page in the history of hip-hop with a tone of social protest (unemployment, inflation). "It's Like That" is judged by many to be the first hardcore rap song,[5][6] and the first new school hip-hop recording.[7] "Sucker M.C.'s" is one of the first diss tracks,[8] and "Rock Box" is the first song in the rap rock genre.[6]

The album was reissued by Arista Records in 1999 and 2003. An expanded and remastered edition was released in 2005 and contained 4 previously unreleased songs.[9]


Released in the spring of 1984, Run-D.M.C. had the same kind of impact on the hip-hop generation that Meet the Beatles! had on the rock generation. It announced a new group, a new sound, a new look, and a new attitude all at once. From that moment on, the whole of history of hip-hop has been divided into pre-Run-D.M.C. and post-Run-D.M.C. The album is filled with such classics like "It's Like That", "Sucker M.C.'s" and "Rock Box".

The music on the album was created by Larry Smith's group Orange Krush using the drum machine Oberheim DMX and Jam Master Jay's scratches mixed in a guitar riff.[10]

The album is dedicated to the memory of DJ June Bug (1958 - 1983) - one of the greatest DJs in the world who worked as a DJ in the Bronx at the club Disco Fever, selling drugs at the same time.[11]

Appearance on MTV

"Rock Box" video became the first rap video played on MTV in the summer of 1984.[citation needed][12] The video was filmed in the famous New York punk club Danceteria. In the video, the trio are seen decked out in what had become their signature look by then: black Kangol hats, black Lee jeans, black t-shirts and leather jackets, white Adidas sneakers, gold chains, and, as always, D.M.C. is wearing his trademark glasses.[13]

Appearance in movies

The song "It's Like That" was performed on stage in the 1985 Warner Bros. film Krush Groove, in which the Run-D.M.C.'s members starring in April 1985.[14]


  • The Observer – no. 40 at "50 albums that changed music" (2006)[15]
  • NME – no. 25 at "101 Albums To Hear Before You Die" (2014)[16]
  • Rolling Stone – no. 51 at "100 Best Albums of the Eighties" (1989)[17]
  • Rolling Stone – no. 242 at "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" (2003 and 2012)[18][19]
  • Rolling Stone – no. 26 at "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time" (2003)[20]
  • Rolling Stone – "The 40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time" (2013)[21]
  • Spin – no. 11 at "The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time" (1989)[22]
  • Spin – no. 7 at "The Ten Reasons We Wish Spin Had Started In 1984" (2005)[23]
  • The Source – "100 Best Rap Albums" (1998)[24]
  • The Source – "Albums Rated 5 Mics (Out of 5)" (1998)[25]
  • The Source – "100 Best Rap Singles" (1998)[26]
  • Beats Per Minute – no. 73 at "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s" (2011)[27]
  • XXL – "40 Years of Hip-Hop: Top 5 Albums by Year" (2014)[28]
  • Uncut – no. 33 at "50 Greatest New York Albums" (2015)[29]
  • Complex – no. 37 at "The Best Rap Albums of the '80s" (2017)[30]
  • Complex – "The Best Hip-Hop Producer Alive, Every Year Since 1979" (2018)[31]
  • The Village Voice – no. 10 at "Pazz & Jop: Top 10 Albums By Year, 1971–2017" (2018)[32]

Reception and influence

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[33]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[34]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[35]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[37]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[38]
The Source5/5[39]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[40]
Uncut4/5 stars[41]
The Village VoiceA−[42]

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".[37]

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".[42] 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".[42]

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.[42][43] 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."[43][44] Run–D.M.C. rapped over the most sparse of musical backing tracks in hip hop at the time: a drum machine and a few scratches, with rhymes that harangued weak rappers and contrasted them to the group's success.[44] "It's Like That" is an aggressively delivered message rap whose social commentary has been defined variously as "objective fatalism",[42] "frustrated and renunciatory",[45] and just plain "reportage".[36]

In 1989, the album was ranked number 51 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.[46] In 2003, the album was ranked number 242 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[47]

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.[48]

"It's the first rap album that broke big," observed Ice-T, "which paved the way for everybody into being able to make rap albums, not just singles." [49]

Track listing

Side A
1."Hard Times"
  • Jimmy Bralower
  • JB Moore
  • Russell Simmons
  • Larry Smith
  • William Waring
2."Rock Box"
  • Darryl McDaniels
  • Joseph Simmons
  • Smith
3."Jam-Master Jay"
  • McDaniels
  • Jason Mizell
  • J.Simmons
"Scratchin'" by Magic Disco Machine3:11
4."Hollis Crew (Krush-Groove 2)"
  • McDaniels
  • Mizell
  • J.Simmons
  • R.Simmons
5."Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1)"
  • Nathaniel S. Hardy, Jr.
  • McDaniels
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
"Live at the Disco Fever" by Lovebug Starski3:09
Side B
1."It's Like That"
  • McDaniels
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
2."Wake Up"
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
  • R.Simmons
  • Daniel Hayden
3."30 Days"
  • Daniel Simmons
  • Smith
  • Moore
4."Jay's Game"
  • J.Simmons
  • Smith
  • Mizell
  • R.Simmons
Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
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

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Chart positions


Chart (1984) Peak
US Billboard 200[50] 53
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[51] 14


Year Single Chart positions
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Hot Dance Club Songs
1983 "It's Like That" 15
1984 "Hard Times" / "Jam Master Jay" 11 65
"Rock Box" 22 26
"30 Days" 16
"Hollis Crew (Krush Groove 2)" 65


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[54] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Toop, p. xi
  2. ^ "American certifications – Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C." Recording Industry Association of America.
  3. ^ "SPIN Magazine (May, 1985): Rap 'N' Roll by Edward Rasen - page 27". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  4. ^ "First 10 Gold Rap Albums - Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists (2014) - page 280". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  5. ^ "100 Entertainers Who Changed America: An Encyclopedia of Pop Culture Luminaries (by Robert C. Sickels) (2013) - page 462". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  6. ^ a b "Run-DMC - Running Down a Dream (by Joshua Ostroff) Published Sep 01, 2005". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  7. ^ "LL Cool J (by Dustin Shekell, Chuck D) (2009) - page 44". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  8. ^ "Chuck D - This Day In Rap and Hip-Hop History (by Chuck D) (October 10, 2017) - page 37". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  9. ^ "Run-D.M.C. - Run-D.M.C. (2005 expanded deluxe edition)". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  10. ^ "Sounding Race in Rap Songs (2015)". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  11. ^ "Krush Groove (Jan 7, 2010)". Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  12. ^ "Run-D.M.C. Is Beating the Rap (by ED KIERSH) [DECEMBER 4, 1986]". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  13. ^ "Take Off to Street Music: Run-D.M.C.'s "Rock Box" video rocked from the floor up to the ceiling (by Bryan Thomas) on January 11, 2017". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  14. ^ "Krush Groove (1985) - Soundtracks - IMDb". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  15. ^ "The Observer's 50 albums that changed music". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  16. ^ "101 Albums To Hear Before You Die". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  17. ^ "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  18. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  19. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  20. ^ "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  21. ^ "The 40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  22. ^ "The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  23. ^ "The Ten Reasons We Wish Spin Had Started In 1984". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  24. ^ "The Source - 100 Best Rap Albums". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  25. ^ "The Source: Albums Rated 5 Mics (Out of 5)". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  26. ^ "The Source - 100 Best Rap Singles". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  27. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  28. ^ "40 Years of Hip-Hop: Top 5 Albums by Year". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  29. ^ "50 Greatest New York Albums". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  30. ^ "The Best Rap Albums of the '80s". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  31. ^ "The Best Hip-Hop Producer Alive, Every Year Since 1979". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  32. ^ "Pazz & Jop: Top 10 Albums By Year, 1971-2017". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  33. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C." AllMusic. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  34. ^ Kot, Greg (December 2, 1990). "A Rundown On The Recording History Of Run-d.m.c." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  35. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 2584. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ a b Miller, Debby (August 30, 1984). "Run-D.M.C." Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  38. ^ Tate, Greg (2004). "Run–D.M.C.". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 708–09. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  39. ^ The Source. New York (150). March 2002.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  40. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Run–D.M.C.". Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  41. ^ Uncut. London (78): 130. November 2003.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  42. ^ a b c d e Christgau, Robert (April 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  43. ^ a b Shapiro, p.327
  44. ^ a b Shapiro, p. 401
  45. ^ Rose, Tricia. "'Fear of a Black Planet': Rap Music and Black Cultural Politics in the 1990s", The Journal of Negro Education, Summer 1991.
  46. ^ Product Notes – Run–D.M.C.. Muze. Retrieved on 2011-02-08.
  47. ^ Staff (November 2003). 500 Greatest Albums: Run-DMC – Run-DMC. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2011-02-08.
  48. ^ The Source: 100 Best Rap Albums. Rocklist. Retrieved on 2009-02-22.
  49. ^ Fletcher, Mansel (March 2000). "100 Best Albums Ever". Hip Hop Connection: 37.
  50. ^ "Run-DMC Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  51. ^ "Run-DMC Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  52. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  53. ^ "Hot Dance Club Songs". Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  54. ^ "American album certifications – Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C." Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
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