Monday, April 22, 2013

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 1: Run DMC (1984)

Welcome to the first edition of my Hip Hop Nostalgia 101! What was originally planned for a podcast will now become a regular post on my blog, and going through the 1980s heading into the 1990s, I'm certainly going to ENJOY creating these posts, because I've made it no secret that I MISS both decades, especially the 90s. Here's what you can expect with the inaugural post and others to follow:

*I'll be reviewing and breaking down MOST (not all) of the albums in my personal collection, starting with 1984 till the present
*I'll highlight specific bulletpoints of certain songs, guests, samples, buildups to the albums, facts, etc
*The albums will be reviewed in order of how they were released (month, year, etc)
*There will be a new rating system I'll be using strictly for these 101 sessions (my current rating system is still in effect though, lol)

So without further ado, here's the first session of Hip Hop Nostalgia 101!

Today's selection:

Release date: March 27, 1984

Prior to this album's release, there had been a few albums already in hip hop that had made its mark, but make no mistake about it, this debut from the legendary Run-DMC set the standard when it comes to more well rounded albums in the genre. It would be perfected over the years, especially when we head into the 1990s, but this is where it truly started in my view. The production on this album was handled solely by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith.

Hard Times
Well, what a way to begin this album, by touching on situations that most of us have experienced unfortunately (and as you're reading this, if you're having hard times, put it in God's hands and remain positive). Run and DMC expertly detail what hard times are and how to get through them. It was pretty basic for its time, but the statement it makes is undeniable. 
Grade- A+

Rock Box
Almost serving as a precursor of things to come, this is the first time that hip hop and rock were fused together, and what resulted was a true classic that really has stood the test of time. When it came to putting hip hop and rock together, no one did it better than Run-DMC.
Grade- A+   

Jam-Master Jay
First off, another RIP goes out to Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell, as his contributions to hip hop will always be remembered, especially when it comes to the art of DJing. Run and DMC show much appreciation to their DJ on this classic, over an unforgettable breakbeat.
Grade- A+ 

Hollis Crew (Krush Groove 2)
"It's like that y'all, like that' y'all, like that-that, like that y'all", one of the more memorable quotes from this song, which is definitely a VERY good lead in to the next song.
Grade- A+
Sucker M.C's (Krush Groove 1)

Oh man, where do I even begin with this song, another classic in a series of them on this album. Run's opening lines, "Two years ago, a friend of mine/Asked me to say some MC rhymes/So I said this rhyme I'm about to say/The rhyme was def and then it went this way", is one of the most memorable openings in hip hop history, followed by an equally memorable verse from DMC.
Grade- A+

It's Like That
Wow, and the classics continue! "It's like that, and that's the way it is!" Yes indeed, and they drop some serious hip hop jewels on this one.
Grade- A+

Wake Up
It's time to wake up, because most of what we dream about is simply too good to be true and/or sometimes impossible, and this is NOT to say that dreams don't come true. This is rapped about in the most simple way possible, yet it's VERY effective.  
Grade- A+ 

30 Days
Yes, this is apply titled right here. If you don't feel what changes they're making, you can correct it in 30 days, lol!
Grade- B

Jay's Game
We close out this incredible album showcasing Jam-Master Jay on the one & two's doing what he did best.
Grade- A+

This is one of the greatest albums in all the history of music, and it's one of my personal favorites (#24 to be exact), and it goes without saying that it holds up WELL today, some 28 years after its release. In my opinion, this is their best album, but they would only get bigger from here. 

(Due to the original version no longer being in print, this album was reissued as a "deluxe edition" in 2005, with four additional bonus tracks.)

Final Grade- A+
Most memorable songs- Rock Box, It's Like That, Sucker M.C's, Hard Times, and Jam-Master Jay


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