4/9/13

"ROB THE MOB" - HIP HOP ORIGINS - RUN-DMC

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In the same Spin roundtable, the main focus of the conversation was the growth of so-called "Gangsta Rap," for which the then-recent release of the 1988 album "Straight Outta Compton" by the rap group N.W.A, which included Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, was a seminal event.

Randall Williams, of Jazzy Jay Productions, in the roundtable: "Run-DMC was the hardest hard, then you had Public Enemy, now you have N.W.A.  So what comes next?"

Run-DMC was from Queens and had been active through the mid/late 80s.  They were the first rap act to have an album go gold, and platinum, and multi-platinum, the first to be nominated for a Grammy, the first to have videos on MTV.

Run-DMC about themselves, in a 1986 Spin article:


            “Before us,” says Jay, “rap records was corny.  Everything was soft.  Nobody made no hard beat records.  Everybody just wanted to sing, but they didn’t know how to sing, so they’ll just rap on the record.  There was no real meaning to a rapper.  Bam[baataa] and them was getting weak.  Flash was getting weak.  Everybody was telling me it was a fad.  And before Run-DMC came along, rap music could have been a fad.”
            “None of them was hard-hitting street jams,” says Run.  We came and got ill.  There it is.”
            “There was never a b-boy [breakdance] record made until we made ‘Sucker M.C.’s,” Jay continues.  “Now you got groups that just try to be all b-boy.  Rappers wasn’t even street before we came out at all.   Rappers used to dress up, leather this, leather that, chains.  Did you ever see them back in the days?  Motorcycle-gang-looking-people.  When we came in, we dressed the way we always dressed, and we just did our thing.  We was street.  We was hard.  When people seen us, they seen that we was regular, normal people.  Didn’t go around with no braids in our hair, flicking them around.  People tend to like what’s real.  And we was real.”   
(“Hell Raisin,’” John Leland, Spin, August, 1986)

This article came out right before the release of the band's 1986 album Raising Hell, which went on to multi-platinum sales and which Time Magazine, in their 100 greatest album article called "rap's first masterpiece ... as audacious now as it was two decades ago."
(Time Magazine's 100 greatest Albums, Tyrangiel/Light, Time, November, 2006)

Run-DMC, "Sucker M.C.s," Live on WPIX New York TV show Graffiti Rock, 1984

Run-DMC, "Walk this Way," 1986


 Isabel

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