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Music / Run–D.M.C. (Album)

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And that's the way it is!

Run–D.M.C. is the 1984 debut album by Run–D.M.C., best known for their hits "Rock Box", "Sucker M.C.'s" and "It's Like That". It's one of the classic hip hop albums and widely considered to be one of the most influential.

The song "Rock Box" from this album was the first music video by a hip-hop group to premiere on MTV.


Side One

  1. "Hard Times" (3:52)
  2. "Rock Box" (5:30)
  3. "Jam-Master Jay" (3:11)
  4. "Hollis Crew" (3:12)
  5. "Sucker M.C.'s" (3:09)

Side Two

  1. "It's Like That" (4:50)
  2. "Wake Up" (5:31)
  3. "30 Days" (5:47)
  4. "Jay's Game" (4:25)


These tropes are like that and that's the way they are:

  • Badass Boast and Boastful Rap: "Rock Box" from the first until the last line.
  • Blind Without 'Em: "Hollis Crew-Krush Groove"
    And why do you wear those glasses?
    So I can see!
  • Call-Back and Continuity Nod: "It's Like That" is about the Crapsack World of today, with the line "unemployment at a record high". The next track "Wake Up" is about a Utopia, with a similar line "unemployment was at a record low."
  • Capitalism Is Bad: "It's Like That".
    Money is the key to end all your woes
    Your ups, your downs, your highs and your lows
    Won't you tell me last time that love bought you clothes?
    It's like that and that's the way it is
    Bills flies higher every day
    We receive much lower pay
    I'd rather stay young, go out and play
    It's like that and that's the way it is, huh
  • Advertisement:
  • Captain Obvious: "Hollis Crew-Krush Groove"
    And why do you wear those glasses?
    So I can see!
  • Celebrity Cameo: In "Wake Up" a utopian dream is described, where apparently "all the presidents were chillin' at our show/listening to what we had to say/ and trying to create a new and brighter day."
  • Cool Pet: "30 Days"
    And if you're lookin' for a pet I'll buy a kangaroo.
  • Cover Version: "Hard Times", a cover of Kurtis Blow single of the same name.
  • Crapsack World: "Hard Times" about life's struggles. "It's Like That" describes unemployment, death, poverty, high prices, wars and failings. In both songs, however, the band concludes with a hopeful message that tells their listeners to never give up hope.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "It's Like That".
    When you feel you fail, sometimes it hurts
    For a meaning in life is why you search
  • Face on the Cover: The band is shown on the cover.
  • False Utopia: "Wake Up", where the protagonist wakes up after having a dream about a world where everything is perfect, with no war, greed or poverty of racism. The song seems to imply that we should make this dream come true.
  • New Sound Album: This album had a very fresh and different sound compared to other hiphop acts at the time. "Rock Box" made use of an electric guitar sample, for instance.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: "It's Like That".
    Here's another point in life, you should not miss
    Do not be a fool who's prejudiced
    Because we're all written down on the same list
    It's like that and that's the way it is, huh
  • One-Word Title: The album title.
  • Product Placement:
    • "Rock Box".
    We bake a little cake with Duncan Hines
    And never wear the vest called the Calvin Kleins
    Cause Calvin Klein ain't no friend of mine.
    • "Sucker M.C.'s"
    Youse a sucker MC in a pair of Calvin Kleins
    (...) You're drivin' big cars get your gas from Getty.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Rock Box" and "Sucker M.C.'s"
  • Sampling: Jam-Master Jay samples "Scratchin'" by Magic Disco Machine and Sucker M.C.'s does the same for "Live at the Disco Fever" by Lovebug Starski.
  • Rock-Star Song: "Rock Box".
  • Self-Titled Album: The album is titled after the band.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hard Times has the line: "And be on the point for future shock", a reference to Alvin Toffler's book "Future Shock".
    • "Hollis Crew-Crush Groove" namedrops Kurtis Blow: "Got Kurtis Blow down with the two."
    • 30 Days has the line: "Heard they said it's rainin' men", which is a reference to the 1983 song "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls.
    • Rock Box was sampled by Chris Rock in his song "Champagne". The words "Run, Run" in themselves have been sampled by countless other rap artists.
    • "Jam Master Jay" was sampled by Schoolly D on his album Schoolly D (1985), during the track "Free Style Cutting".
    • Wu-Tang Clan covered "Sucker M.C.'s" on In Tha Beginning... There Was Rap (1997). The song is also featured in the film Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), though not on the soundtrack. Public Enemy sampled it too on It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1989) during Night Of The Living Baseheads, as well as The Beastie Boys during Super Disco Breakin' from Hello Nasty (1998).
    • It's Like That became an international Top 5 hit in the remix by DJ Jason Nevins from 1997.
  • Silly Love Songs: "30 Days", which is charming, but also funny at the same time.
  • Singer Namedrop: "Jam-Master Jay" and "Jay's Game". "30 Days" namedrops Run. "Rock Box" and "Hollis Crew" namedrop the others.
  • Spelling Song:
    • "Jay's Game"
    J-A-Y are the letters of his name
    • "Hollis Crew-Crush Groove"
    The D's for doin it all of the time
    The M's for the rhymes that are all mine
    The C's for cool, cool as can be
  • Stutter Stop:
    • From "Hard Times"
    P-P-P-Prices go up, don't let your pocket go down.
    B-b-b-beating hard times, that's my theme.
    • "Hollis Crew-Crush Groove"
    Liggy-liggy-liggy-listen to the things that I say
  • Time Marches On:
    • In "Jam Master Jay" the band raps: In '84 he will be a little faster.
    • In "30 Days" Run rhymes:
    And you'll know I'll never look at another girl/ I'm a single-minded man, and my mind is set/You're the lady of the '80s that I'm gonna get
  • War Is Hell: "It's Like That"
    War's going on across the sea
    Street soldiers killing the elderly
    What ever happened to unity?
    It's like that and that's the way it is