Too many so-called experts in hip-hop today love to say where hip-hop is at, when they don’t know where it is from. Hip-hop in itself did not begin with Run-DMC, but the massive commercial force that is hip-hop today certainly did. Hip-hop’s first gold album? Run-DMC. Hip-hop’s first platinum album? Run-DMC. You wanna know why they were so popular when rap was just considered a bastardized fad? Here is your answer; “Ultimate Run-DMC.”
Anyone who is not familiar with the work of Run-DMC may listen to this album and think they have heard it before somewhere else. You probably have. Countless lines from Run and DMC have been either interpolated in other rappers rhymes, or sampled in choruses by producers. It’s all here, each album represented in the way it should be plus a few extra treats. Their 1984 self-titled LP is well represented with the classic “Rock Box,” and “Sucker MC’s,” their DJ tribute “Jam-Master Jay,” and the original breaking anthem “It’s Like That.” Their disappointing sophomore album “King of Rock” only provided the seminal title track.
Their magnum opus “Raising Hell” offers the most cuts. The legendary “My Adidas,” “It’s Tricky,” “Peter Piper,” plus “Hit It Run” and “Raising Hell.” Of course, their most notorious song, the one that made them superstars and resurrected the Aerosmith’s career, “Walk This Way,” is also in the lineup. 88’s “Tougher Than Leather” provides “Mary, Mary,” “Run’s House,” and “Beats To The Rhyme.” As Run-DMC was phased out by the new generation their 1990 “Back From Hell” was largely ignored and gets the same treatment here. Their short lived return to glory, thanks to Pete Rock and the incredible “Down With The King,” is here of course. As is their late 90’s “It’s Like That (Run-DMC vs. Jason Nevins)” remake. There are a couple other treats here too, the ultra rare “Here We Go” from a Profile Records comp and a live rendition from Hollis Park of their b-side “Together Forever.”
Greatest hits albums should be classics right? It is a collection of an artists best work after all. Well, that is not always the case. Despite Outkast’s flawless catalogue, their greatest hits album did not represent the duo as well as it could have. “Ultimate Run-DMC” is just that however, an ultimate collection of Run-DMC’s legacy. Not just the incredible collection of 18 songs, but 14 music videos and a mini- documentary. If you claim to love this year music, then act like ya know. No one should be without this collection. RIP JMJ.