Friday, April 11, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 90: Run DMC - Tougher than Leather

Album - Tougher than Leather
Artist - Run DMC
Key Players - Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C" McDaniels and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell.
Produced By - Russell Simmons

Release Date - May 16, 1988

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I actually had this on cassette tape and about a month ago I actually played it. I realized I liked it so much

Overview - Coming off the biggest selling rap album (at the time) Run DMC had a lot to live up to. This, their fourth album, blended a rap and rock. What it lacked in sales it focued on musical growth. The band would continue to be ground breakers and influences on artists and fans alike.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
"Run's House" fades up with sampled a sampled audience cheering. The back beat is pretty simple with a good loop. The rapping over the top is smooth and they resort to a call and response delivery, which is a trade mark. Jay and DMC alternate lead vocals on verses. "Mary Mary" which is cover and heavily sampled track by the Monkees offers some cool scratching before the verses begin. The song was released as a single and is an easy song to sing along with. "They Call Us Run DMC" is a little "darker" than the previous two songs. The track has beat boxing with scratching and despite a darker heavier intro the band still has a swift and poppy delivery to the rhymes. "Beats to the Rhyme" follows the pattern of a catchy loop and actually samples a blurb from a Sam Kinison stand up comedy routine. Up to this point its the most sample heavy track. "Radio Station" is the most infectious track on the disc. At the time it was a goal of buddies and I to be able to rap this with out missing a word or slowing down. Surprisingly, when I listened to this once recently I was able to do over 80% which was impressive for me honestly. Still, my favorite track on the record. "Papa Crazy" samples "Papa was a Rolling Stone" but only for the Papa portion. At the outset there is DJ scratching and the song has a decent back beat through out. "Tougher than Leather" has more guitar samples than we have heard to this point. The rapping is a little more aggressive in its delivery. "I'm Not Going Out Like That" starts with a sample from Martin Luther King. The back beat has a quick tight punch to it and the rapping is quite swift. There are breakdowns between verses along for some sample work but it is quick back to the fold. "How'd Ya Do It Dee" follows and its a slower track than others. Granted the lyrics are given quickly the over all song has a slower groove. "Miss Elaine" opens with guitar and drum samples (they both actually sound live vs. sampled). Its a heavier track due to the guitar/drums. "Soul to Rock and Roll" actually samples "King of Rock" at the beginning. They begin to tell the story of themselves as a rap act. They say no to drugs and hammer the point down with strong break beats. The original album wraps up "Ragtime" which has a funny, quirky sound to it. Using more horn samples with a silly vocal delivery. Not the strongest album closer, but it is okay.

Where are they now? - In 2002 Jam Master Jay was murdered and the band annonuced their retirement. Jam Master Jay was working as a producer when he was murdered. He was 37. DJ Run released a solo record and is the star of the MTV show "Run's House". DMC, who battled substances in the late 90's which may have coupled issues with his vocal chords settled down and worked as an adoption advocate. He has also written an autobiography.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw Run DMC live. I did have the chance, and had tickets for a show on the Raising Hell tour but the show in my area was cancelled.

FDF Overall Take - A corworker of mine once commented about the current rap albums saying flatly "Nobody just raps anymore" (he buys far more of those records than I ever do). For straight up rapping this is a pretty and easy and fun listen. Sure you can whip out "Raising Hell" but this is a tighter listen overall (at least to my ears).

Links -

Run DMC official site.
D.M.C on myspace.
Reverend Run official.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Run's House
Mary Mary
Radio Station
I'm Not Going Out Like That

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 3:29 AM, Blogger Ello said...

Wow! Talk about nostalgia! It is funny cause lately I've been listening to alot of 80s mixes. I guess feeling like I'm missing my college years. I've actually been listening to "It's Tricky." So your post is quite timely!


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