Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 2: Run-DMC - King Of Rock (1985)

Run-DMC returned almost one year after their classic debut. Is this album more or less on equal footing with their debut or is it a sophomore jinx? Let's go back in time shall we!

Release date: January 21, 1985

All songs produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith

Rock The House
The album beings with a standard instrumental with vocal backdrops from Run and DMC, leading right into.....

King Of Rock

This classic begins with the famous opening:

"I'm the king of rock, there is none higher
Sucker MCs should call me sire
To burn my kingdom, you must use fire
I won't stop rockin till I retire!"

I can't forget how crazy I went (and still do) when the beat drops! Run and DMC once again merge hip hop and rock in the most entertaining way possible, and it's also one of my favorites from them.
Grade- A+

You Talk Too Much
Well, the title of this says it all, and it's exactly what's explored here in the MOST simplest way possible, plus it's a little too long for the points they were trying to make.
Grade- C

Jam-Master Jammin
In what could be deemed as a sequel to "Jam-Master Jay", it's not on the level of its predecessor, but it's still decent.
Grade- C

Roots, Rap, Reggae
Well, Run-DMC beat KRS-One to the punch by being the first artists to bring hip hop and reggae together. While they were successful with their hip hop/rock tracks, they did not achieve those same results on this one. Their effort was appreciated though.
Grade- D+

Can You Rock It Like This
We all know that Run and DMC were very good on the mic, and when they professed that, it was always done with such energy that was second to none at the time. This one falls a little short.
Grade- D

You're Blind
I could've done without the rock heavy beat considering the subject matter (most people are blind to certain facts), but overall it's decent, nothing spectacular.
Grade- C+

It's Not Funny
When it comes to certain real life situations, they're not funny, I agree, and on this one, it's explained, again, in the most simplest way possible. Good though.
Grade- C

Darryl and Joe
On this album closer, we get the standard Run-DMC track. It's nothing you haven't heard before.
Grade- D+

All I can say is WOW! This is quite possibly hip hop's first sophomore jinx, as it's CLEARLY a step down from their debut. I don't know if they were trying too hard or just simply lacked the inspiration they had on their debut, but ALL of the elements that made their debut so special were missing on this album; it's more underwhelming than anything else, and with the exception of the title track, the rest of this album has NOT aged well at all. Things would only get better after this thankfully.

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

 The album was certified Gold on June 3, 1985, then later became certified platinum on February 19, 1987.

Final Grade- D (The ONLY highlight here is the title track.)     

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