Run D.M.C. – Tougher Than Leather

A little earlier than normal today RC’ers….standing in as an acceptable alternative to silence, I’m bringing you the RC listen for the day.Come back in time with me, a time of gold changes and adias.  A time of hip hop later to be referred to as the golden age.

Run DMC is in the house y’all. The album: Tougher Than Leather.
Read about it here:

Listen to it here:

And quit bugging already…



RC: Run-D.M.C. – Tougher Than Leather

It’s probably crazy to admit, but I don’t think I’ve heard a lot of Run. I think I’ve heard a couple of them through Kevin Smith movies, but it’s not an album I’ve invested in and I’m a little ashamed of it.

After Listening:
Someone get me some cardboard – I WANNA BREAKDANCE! I also found some of the lines here have been sampled in a lot of the music I listen to. I was dancing in my chair at work and really happy that I work alone. This be booty quaking music.
There is a crazy amount of scratching in the album that doesn’t really improve the sound though.
Hey Sesh! Why don’t you ever make me playlists like you say you will? I would dance like a moron to this.

Favorite track/tracks:
Beats to the Rhyme – The eerie chimes in the background seemed completely out of place and it pulled my attention.
Tougher Than Leather – I love shout raps. I think that’s why I dig the Beastie Boys.

Least favorite track/tracks:
Radio Station – It seems like it was written just to get DJs to play it. Boring. When I have kids, they’re going to be all “Mommy, what’s a radio station?”

Overall (1-5 stars):   4.5


Run DMC – Tougher Than Leather: 3.5 stars

Precon: Of all the legendary hip hop acts, my love for Run DMC is most incongruous with their stature. Sure, I like them. I like them just fine. But they never reached that next level for me. I’m hoping for a breakthrough here, since there are probably a few tracks I haven’t heard before, but realistically, I’m expecting to just like it.

Favorite Track: Mary Mary
Least Favorite: How’d Ya Do It Dee. The echo is annoying.

Definitely know the first song. It’s a classic.
The speed rapping on Radio Station is a good change of pace from their typically compartmentalized rhymes.
Ragtime is a peculiar choice to end the album, especially after they came up lame on the last few tracks.
I think Run DMC’s problem is that, after four albums, they hadn’t evolved much. When they broke onto the scene, they were the freshest thing around, but by 1988, the hip hop landscape was drastically changing. I don’t know if it was a conscious decision, but they did not stay ahead of the curve. I can still appreciate it though. This is Old Skool’s last hurrah. They went after it hard, and there are some great moments. The rapping can be tiresome on tracks like Miss Elaine and Soul to Rock and Roll, but there’s nothing overtly wrong on the whole. They just should have paid attention to the

Magic the Gathering Card: “Evolving Wilds”


Preconceived Notions:  Run DMC once played the Spring weekend back at UNH in oh…1998 or so. They were terrible.  I remember being so disappointing….like 15 min intros for every song proclaiming how they basically invented rap, hip hop, possibly existence itself.  On top of that, they rapped listlessly-and just overall inaudibly. I walked out of that show very very disappointed – although I realize live hip hop isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Still I never really gave up on them, particularly not their early “hungry” material – I have never heard this complete album so I am looking forward to putting a better impression of the “legends” in my mind.

After Listening: I think I just prefer the production on mid 80’s hip hop.  There’s something acoustically warm about it, so even if the beats aren’t insanely complicated – it’s still engaging and doesn’t come off as inadequate.  On this record the rock influences and elements are a welcome experiment. I can see where lyrically this album might have been a disappointment to fans that wanted them to be more aggressive in their subject matter – or more abrasive in their beats. And I sort of get that criticism with the passage of time – maybe this album isn’t a genre changer, but if you’re like me you didn’t mind the genre like this.  I like hearing the guitar, I like hearing verses clearly annunciated, and so on.  That said there’s no reason to use this record as a soapbox against all future hip hop efforts – it’s not a perfect record afterall. While the beats are engaging they do repeat themselves at times on here, and there are clearly some filler tracks here to pad the thing up to only 40mins.

Favorite Tracks – “Run’s House” – Sensible use of scratching and sampling, along with the anthem like call to action.  The energy is as heavy as it gets on the album – it’s a well placed opening track.
“Miss Elaine” – They have a little bit of the stutter delivery they used on My Adias – anmd you can se how the production on this track could have been in sync with early Beastie Boys material. Lots of guitar. Plenty of fun.

Least Favorite Tracks: “How ya Do it Dee”  – bad memories of the UNH show – too much bragging not enough rapping, the beat is static and uninteresting, and they have a weird reverb thing that just doesn’t work.
“Radio Station” – a filler track with a rhyme pattern that just is a to b over and over again, until you just don’t care anymore, and you lose track of the words.

Overall 4.2  Run DMC is just fun, there’s more to their efforts than the simpler hooks suggest. It takes a lot of work sometimes to sound easy, but they do it…and they do it well.  Run represents a time period frozen, but not necessarily one that’s dated.  The extent to which the group are innovators are for people more in tune with the history of hip hop than me, personally I think there’s a room for all types of hip hop – “golden age” or no.  But DMC was no doubt better than a lot of acts back then, as well as being better than a lot of artists today. Timeless in the true sense.


Run DMC – Tougher Than Leather

Preconceptions: Listen, I get it. I understand why these guys are so vaunted in terms of their pioneering efforts and such. But to be honest, I can never get too excited about Run DMC. I enjoy it when I hear it, but they always kinda come across to me with that novelty sort of sound that early hip hop gives off. So, they are a good time and stuff, but I’m never able to get beyond that. I’m not even sure I’d put a run DMC album in my top 10 rap records list, maybe not even top 15 or 20.

After Listening: I feel the same now as before listening—good time, fun rhymes, great bravado—but I’m never blown away. It’s very consistent though. Every song is good and their influence is obvious… I think. I don’t know. Rap music is so far removed from this sound these days and even in the 90s. But anyway, I like it, obviously—I just don’t love it.

Favorites: Beats to the Rhyme, Mary Mary, Miss Elaine
Least: I’m not going Out Like That

Overall: 3.64


Run DMC – Tougher Than Leather

Precon- In ‘88, I was the only white kid in the Allingtown section of West Haven. Run-DMC was the soundtrack of the neighborhood and saved me from the Bon Jovi the West Shore losers listened to.

Post- Go out and buy me a hip-hop CD released in 2011 that’s as good as this. Ya can’t!

The Tops- Who’s House is the finest rap song ever recorded. The heavy guitar & wah-wah effect in Tougher Than Leather is perfect for driving around Allingtown with the windows down.
Tha PleaseStops- Mary Mary is twice the length it should be. Sometimes Rick Rubin doesn’t spin gold.

Overall- The rap coming out of NYC in the 80s is like 70’s punk or 60’s soul. It made money for too many people and subsequent acts have weakened the genres with overproduced, formulaic garbage. What 2000s movement will be ruined by future generations? Dubstep? Screamo? Think it over while you’re getting off my lawn. Do I need to tell you whose house this is?

Rating- 4.5
Prelisten estimate- 4.0
Season to date- +1.42

admin (196 Posts)

Record Club began in the cold, dank, snowmageddon scene that was New England of January 2011. We’re probably no different than you. We all work in cubicles, some in smaller, less private cubicles than others; that just means we have to be even sneakier about how we listen to our music. But we have to listen to our music, mostly as a way of saving our own personal sanity. Sometimes our opinions lead us to debates that may or may not be published in their entirety on this site, but I can promise you’ll at least get a glimpse of the way our minds work. The main goal is to find new music we like or find old music that we didn’t know we liked. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes it’s a total and complete disaster. After our ears have rejoiced or stopped bleeding we try something else. This is our pattern, every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes, when the club isn’t officially in session, just to keep everyone on their toes, we throw in a theme day. We’re beginning to run low on our original list, so please, if you have albums that you’d like us to review or themes that you’d like to see our playlist of, feel free to contribute. After all, we’re all in this together once we punch the time clock. So if you’re busy (or just plain bored) lurking in your cubicle as you read this join in. After all, life wasn’t meant to be lived staring at a computer screen. I guarantee you, it’s at least more fun when you plug the headphones in.

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