April 15, 1985 12:00 PM


The trio of 20-year-old New York rap musicians who comprise RUN-D.M.C. have gained unprecedented popularity in this urban genre. Their debut album last year was the first rap record to achieve gold status. The group’s name is derived from the nickname of one (Joseph Simmons, a/k/a RUN) and the initials (more or less) of the other, Daryll McDaniels. Jam-Master Jay (Jason Mizell) creates the bottom-heavy instrumentation track. On their second album they have added the spice of variety without sacrificing the crude power of their format. Rock the House features hammering echo effects on the lyric line and unusually elaborate percussion by Sam Jacobs. On the title track Eddie Martinez lays down some guitar work that any heavy metal group might envy, and Can You Rock It Like This is flavored with synthesizers. The rappers are also joined by Jamaican dub master Yellowman on Roots, Rock, Reggae for a startling marriage of Harlem and Kingston. Good as the trio is, its message seems to have been unduly influenced by its newfound star status. King of Rock is sprinkled with lines such as: “I walked on ice and never fell/I spend my time in a plush hotel/I stood on many stages, held many mikes/Take airplane flights at huge heights.” Some of RUN-D.M.C.’s silly braggadocio may be justified. They’ve managed to take a provincial musical style (even if the province in this case is the ghetto) to a broad audience. We don’t have to go out of our way to congratulate them, though. They do that themselves: “I got credit in places I never been/’Cause the records I write are in the Top 10.” (Profile)

You May Like