The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its 24th class this past week (April 4, 2009). Last year, I did an issue on John Mellencamp when he was inducted. This year there are some inductees a little more meaningful to me. Run-D.M.C. was inducted this year as just the second rap/hip-hop group to receive this honor.
I have to say I have been a Run-D.M.C. fan almost as long as I can remember. I bought their first album all the way back in 1984 well before they were welcomed into the mainstream. I attended concerts before I was even old enough to drive (thanks Mom & Dad!). For whatever reason, their sound just caught my ear and spoke to me in a way that you wouldn't expect for a nine-year-old white kid from Milwaukee.
Run-D.M.C. was easily the biggest act in hip-hop throughout the 80s and are generally credited with being the most influential rap group of all time breaking hip hop into mainstream music. The group was made up of Run (Joseph Simmons), D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels) and Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell). They are well represented on my very popular Top 50 Old School Rap/Hip Hop Songs from the 80s list. The group released four studio albums in the 80s including 1986's Raising Hell which went all the way to #3 on the Billboard mainstream album chart and featured a cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" which would reach #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
This is the album that really opened doors for rap music to enter the mainstream. In 2006, Time Magazine named it #41 of the 100 best albums of the past fifty years and stated that the album was "rap's first masterpiece." In 2003, the Raising Hell was ranked number 120 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Their self-titled debut album from 1984 is probably still my favorite. I still enjoy listening to it from start to finish today. In 1989, the album was ranked #51 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 greatest albums of the 1980s". Then in 2003, the album was ranked number 240 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. I feel it might deserve to be ranked even higher than that on both lists. You will find many of the songs from this album on my upcoming top 10 list below.
Rapper Eminem had the honor of inducting Run-D.M.C. into the Hall of Fame and gave what I considered to be a very nice speech which you can watch right here:
It is customary for the inductees to all perform during the ceremony, but Run-D.M.C. chose not to in keeping with their pledge not to perform together live again following the tragic death of their d.j. Jam Master Jay (Mizell). Mizell was murdered on October 30, 2002 and this tragedy saddened and disgusted me. Though I did not know the man personally, this particular death seemed to hurt me more than usual. Jay's mother accepted the Hall of Fame honor on behalf of her son.
You can see on the video here some of the comments made by Run and D following the ceremony:
They were true pioneers and as big of a part of my 80s music memories as anything else from my favorite decade. As I hope you expected, I will take this opportunity to publish my top 10 list of Run-D.M.C. songs from the 80s and include links to videos or at least to listen to the songs. To my average reader, you might not be familiar with most of these songs, but I can still recite the lyrics to all of them 20+ years later.
Here is OLD SCHOOL'S TOP 10 RUN-D.M.C. SONGS FROM THE 80s (+Bonus 5):
Honorable Mention. "Walk This Way" (1986) from Raising Hell - This cover of Aerosmith's 1975 song actually includes a collaboration by Steven Tyler and the boys. It has appeared on three of my past top 10 lists previous to this one including my Top Duets of the 80s list, my Top Rap/Hip Hop Songs of the 80s list and my Top Music Videos of the 80s list. Those are three of my most popular issues, so be sure to click on the links and check them out if you haven't read them before. I am not a huge fan of this song, but it was groundbreaking in several ways so I thought it at least deserved an honorable mention. Another honorable mention goes to "Christmas In Hollis" from the 1987 album A Very Special Christmas, which I covered in more detail during this special holiday issue.
15. "My Adidas" (1986) from Raising Hell - The adidas shoes with the shell toes and no shoe laces became a trademark look for the group and even resulted in a big time endorsement deal (the first for any hip hop artist). [link to video of song playing]
5. "Run's House" (1988) from Tougher Than Leather [link to video] - I also fondly remember this song being used in Kevin Smith's 1999 film Dogma which is one of my all time favorite movies. There is a scene where Matt Damon's character is singing the hook from this song and here is a link to watch this short scene.
2. "King of Rock" (1985) from King of Rock [link to video] - Ironically now, the video features Run and DMC wreaking havoc in a museum that resembles the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame though the actual Hall of Fame museum wouldn't officially open for another nine years. Now they are officially inducted into that museum.
There's my list. I only considered songs from the 80s, but Run-D.M.C. has released three other albums after the 80s which have had some highlights as well. Allmusic.com's Stephen Thomas Erlewine states succinctly that "...More than any other hip-hop group, Run-D.M.C. are responsible for the sound and style of the music." Unlike those before them, Run and DMC rarely smiled and they didn't dance. They delivered their rhymes in an aggressive, angry--almost confrontational, style and sometimes shared rhymes on a single verse--trading rhymes, line-for-line. Run-D.M.C. performed with only Run and DMC out front, and Jam-Master Jay on the turntables behind them, in what is now considered the 'classic' hip hop stage setup: two turntables and microphones.
In an article by NPR Music's Ashley Kahn, D.M.C. (McDaniels) made commentary on why rap music became such a phenomenon back in the late 80s and why it might be a little different today: Having witnessed the birth of rap - and having played a major role in establishing its widespread popularity - McDaniels says he's proud of how far hip-hop culture has come. But he adds that an essential, universal message of the music seems to have been lost. "When you look at hip-hop today, it's like, 'Do you see what this guy is driving? Wow, he's got a lot of money. Wow, he's dating a movie star.' Jay used to say that the thing about hip-hop, about rap, DJing and MCing - about break dancing, the way we dress, the way we communicated - he said it was all-inclusive. It wasn't about having to be rich. You ain't have to be a thug, you ain't have to be black only, you ain't have to break dance. Hip-hop was, 'Come as you are, because here we are for you.' "
Maybe that is partly what drew me in so strongly. The group, who in 2004 was ranked by Rolling Stone #48 on their list of the greatest musical artists of all time, is no longer making new albums together though their influence and music will live on for all time. I cannot think of a more worthy inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They will be inaugural members of Old School's Music Hall of Fame (more to come in a future issue).
That will conclude another issue of Kickin' it Old School. Thanks much for reading. If you are interested in reading more of my 80s related issues, please click there for a summary of those. If you are interested in reading more of my Top 10 lists, please click there for a summary. You can also always click on the Archives in the upper left hand column or use the Google Search Box at the top of the right hand column to find any other issues you may have missed. If you are a fan of Kickin' it, PLEASE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LOGO in the upper right hand column. This will take you to the new Fan Page where I ask you to then click on the "Like" button. Even if you are not a Facebook member yet, please consider joining and registering as a fan at that page. Let other 80s fans know about it as well! Peace and much love.
Check this out: Today (April 10, 2009) is the 58th birthday of action movie actor Steven Seagal. His only 80s contribution was 1988's Above the Law, but my favorite is probably 1992's Under Siege. Surprisingly, he has been in 36 movies in about 20 years. In celebration of his birthday, I thought I would share this poster that made me chuckle. You can see in each picture how Seagal uses his incredible acting skills to demonstrate a whole range of emotions...
Quote of the day: "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." -William Shakespeare
posted by: Marissa (reply)
post date: 04.11.09 (7:13 pm)
Eminem did a great job honoring them. And that acceptance video really makes you see the true heart of hip hop.
posted by: Marissa (reply)
post date: 04.11.09 (7:14 pm)
LOVE the Seagal emotion chart. Who would you put your money on: Seagal or Van Damme (back in the day of course)?
posted by: bawdy (reply)
post date: 04.12.09 (12:00 am)
WOW -- I sort of forgot about this music!
I had to listen to Tricky again. Thanks!
posted by: baby gurl (reply)
post date: 01.15.10 (4:42 am)
i luv this music even though it waz before my time
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