While 1986’s RAISING HELL firmly established Run-DMC in the mainstream, it was this previous album that began their crossover appeal. Released in 1985 on Profile Records, KING OF ROCK was mostly produced by Russell Simmons and Larry Smith and originally featured nine tracks, with a heavy rock influence.
The album opens with ROCK THE HOUSE, a short instrumental track, which isn’t really worth mentioning.
The most memorable song of course is the title track, where DMC defiantly declares himself the King of Rock with such force that no one will disagree.
This was followed by what would be the second single from this album. You Talk Too Much, a rather simple but humorous song.
JAM MASTER JAMMIN’ is a powerful tribute to their DJ Jam Master Jay (R.I.P.). ROOTS, RAP, REGGAE has the guys rapping in fake Jamaican accents over a reggae beat. This song doesn’t work for me at all, but then I’m just not a fan of reggae so I may be biased.
Next up is CAN YOU ROCK IT LIKE THIS which was the 3rd single released from this able and is most notable for the fact that the lyrics were written by young LL Cool J, and produced by Rick Rubin, the duo who later this same year would collaborate on LL’s debut album RADIO
Both YOU’RE BLIND and IT’S NOT FUNNY are powerful songs with lyrics doubling as social commentary on the ills of the day, the type of songs that Run-DMC excelled at.
The album originally ended with DARYLL AND JOE (KRUSH GROOVE 3), another great song full of braggadocio lyrics. Later reissues of this album added two bonus tracks SLOW AND LOW and TOGETHER FOREVER (KRUSH GROOVE 4), plus a live version of King of Rock and a remix of Jam Master Jammin’.
Crisp production, creative lyrics, and Run and DMC’s skillful back and forth wordplay all combine to make this a very good album. Chacebook rating: 4 STARS
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I had the opportunity to see RUN DMC live 3 times. Twice in their heyday, selling out the 20,000 seat Oakland Coliseum and once in the twilight years, at the Rock Candy in Seattle, maximum capacity was less than 500 I’m sure. Loved every single moment of every single show. Thank you for the blast.
Wow, that’s awesome, I wish I could have seen them back in the day.