Friday, October 03, 2008

Run-DMC - Raising Hell

Run-DMC - Raising Hell

Run-DMC, "Peter Piper" (YSI link)

Run-DMC, "You Be Illin'"
(YSI link)

Run-DMC, "Lord of Lyrics (demo)"
(YSI link)

I'm feeling a little emotional today after some nice Rosh Hashanah moments. It's fitting today that I finally return to one of, if not the, most important LP of my life, Run-DMC's Raising Hell. It was the first tape I bought, my first foray out of the world of 45s and into the new technological edge. I was about 8 years old and really had no idea what I was getting into; a friend's older brother was listening to it all the time and talking about it and since I thought he was cool, I felt like it was the right call. Oh, was it ever! It put me on the path to a lifelong love of music and rap and everything. Thanks Brian Park, wherever you are!

Those opening lines of "Peter Piper" where Run and DMC trade rhymes brings tears to my eyes, takes me back to when I was 8 years old and forced my parents to take me to Sam Goody's to buy this tape. I have been listening to a lot recently and it has lot none of its power or excellence. What strikes me most is how much that early rap was creating its own world through words. Run and DMC spit so many words here and not in that awful Twista way, but in a literate way that just sounds like two guys who have so much to say. I miss that spirit today, that joy at rapping and being heard. Songs like "My Adidas" and "It's Tricky" are amazing, songs that are a part of my DNA now. There's such a swagger to each song, that King of Rock style, the adidas tracksuits, the gold chains, the poses. However, take note current rappers, these guys were as hard as fuck yet didn't need to beat the shit out of women nor kill people to get that attitude across.

The music is just as good, as this album saw Run-DMC adding so much to the rap sound and not just with "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith. Check "Is It Live" for a great congo-y beat. Or listen for all of the scratches and riffs, the introduction of rock samples like "My Sharona" on "It's Tricky," the various layers that took rap out of its minimal stage. It's not surprising that this album would take rap to the next level of popularity, as it is a huge sonic leap. Rick Rubin and Jam Master Jay were the architects on this one, changing the world and my life in 1986.

Buy your copy now, if you don't already own it. This is an essential, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200 album. You need it in your life. You need


rachsky said...

and how could you forget "Mary-Mary"? great great post....

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

Scoring this on vinyl at a thrift store for a buck is still one of my best finds.