Black jumpsuits. Shell-toe Adidas. Ridiculous Glasses. Big-ass gold chains.

Paul Wong
Benjamin Bagby and Ping Chong are definitely on another level.<br><br>Courtesy of UMS

Yeah, I don”t remember much about this lost fashion craze either, but I do know that it was the centerpiece for the dawn of the cultural phenomenon that became to be known as hip-hop.

It all started in the Bronx sometime in the 1970s as an underground sound phenomenon, but elevated to mainstream popularity with a group whom many argue gave birth to the young adult that is today”s hip-hop culture.

If you have any discernible knowledge about rap at all, then I don”t have to tell you about the Hollis, Queens, New York trio of Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniel and James “DJ Jam Master Jay” Mizell.

I don”t have to tell you about how the groundbreaking classic “Sucker MC”s” was among the first to set the stage for the endless amount of hip-hop singles that followed in it”s wake. And I don”t feel the need to mention that their 1987 opus Raisin” Hell was the first hip-hop album to hit number one on the Billboard R&B charts.

I do, however, feel that it is my duty as resident hip-hop demigod to inform you, the reading public, that their seventh and newest joint in the group”s 19-year career, is not as fresh, dope, or fly as fans may be expecting.

If there is anything to be learned in the music industry, it is that comebacks from long hiatuses or supposed retirements usually don”t work out for the best. In the constantly changing world of hip-hop music, it is very easy to play out and fall behind on your flow.

Run DMC just dosen”t seem to grasp this concept their style is still representative of the slow, elementary rapping of the “80s parlayed in an era where it can”t be appreciated as much. The guest rappers attempt to compensate for this, usually with decent results.

Fellow Queens natives Nas and Mobb Deep”s Prodigy give worthy guest appearances on “Queens Day.” Fat Joe comes nice as always on “Ay Papi,” and our favorite Wu clansman Method Man rips it on “Simmons Incorporated,” a dedication to the foundation that “Reverend” Run and big brother, Def Jam mogul Russell Simmons, put together from the ground up.

One of the largest issues with the LP is its often shameless attempts at crossing over. Run DMC were dubbed “The Kings of Rock” when they collaborated with Aerosmith in 1986 with the classic “Walk This Way.”

Apparently they took it to heart, making it a point to collaborate years later with already wack pop-rock stars Kid Rock and Fred Durst.

A five-track chunk of the record sees guest appearances from the aforementioned musical blasphemies, including a crazy headbangin” track with Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind, and a guest appearance from Everlast that sounds more like a Run DMC appearance on an Everlast track.

“Walk This Way” was good, primarily because Aerosmith is good and it was fitting for its time. The so-called rock musicians that appear on the LP sucked from jump street, and believe that our middle-aged pioneers aren”t helping matters much. However, if you appreciate sappy imitation-rock that isn”t shades better than the current bubblegum pop craze, then maybe this is your album.

Fortunately, the only thing that truly saves the album from obscurity is the fact that Jam Master Jay keeps up with the times on his production. The tracks that he lay out are of decent quality, and they often make boring lyrics shine.

Otherwise, the production, the guest stars, nor the name itself can help this record. Maybe they should have taken the streak of negative occurrences accompanying the record”s release (pushed back over a year, unhappiness and lack of input from DMC) as an omen. Their first attempt at a comeback with 1994″s Down With The King went nowhere fast, so either you can sit in incomprehensible awe at their ignorance or you can admire their persistence.

If you are in your mid-thirties, still rocking that tight plastic jumpsuit, and you memorized all the dialogue in “Krush Groove,” then perhaps you will appreciate this album enough to buy it.

Otherwise, you may wanna leave it on the shelf, boyyyyeeeee!!!

Grade: C-

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