Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Run-DMC - Down With The King 2xLP

Run-DMC - Down With The King 2xLP

Profile (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Age' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

If you really want to talk about a supremely unpopular opinion in hip hop, allow me to bestow this little nugget of insanity upon you.  I think Down With The King is the best Run-DMC album.  Chaos, right?  Well, hear me out.  So much about what connects with you is about time and place, and to some extent your age.  I was sixteen years old when this record came out in 1993.  All of the earlier, classic, beloved Run-DMC albums had come out years earlier and to a sixteen year old, 1986 seemed like a prehistoric time where Transformers were certainly more important than hip hop.  Down With The King was the album that came out when I was paying attention.

Don't get me wrong, I was aware of their earlier material and how important they were, but those records sounded so old to me.  It's mostly because of the production as things were changing so incredibly fast in the early 90s.  Down With The King has songs produced by The Bomb Squad, Q-Tip, EPMD and of course Pete Rock with his magnificently produced title track.  That song, which features Pete and CL Smooth is one of the classic tracks of that year, in my opinion.  With legendary producers like that all working together to make Run_DMC seem contemporary, it was going to connect more with me, as this was the era of hip hop that I was following.

That's not to say the record or the group's performance is perfect.  It's uneven at times and not everything hits the way it's supposed to.  At times, they lean into the sounds of 1993 a little too much, to the point where I forget this is actually Run-DMC.  They sound like Onyx over here, Naughty By Nature over there (Even the cover is perhaps a bit too similar to 19NaughtyIII).  It's never bad or anything, but it's a group that doesn't sound particularly comfortable with their place in the hip hop landscape of the early 90s.  

Still, when this record hits, it hits pretty hard and of all of the Run-DMC songs that are out there, these have always been the ones that resonated the most with me.

Run-DMC - Down With The King:

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