Run-DMC’s self-titled 1984 debut pushed the doors of pop music open, showing that hip-hop was not the fad that haters had prophesized. As they proved decisively on Run-DMC, rap was a legit art form, fully capable of producing long-players full of no-fast-forward cuts.
By 1985, any doubters were running on fumes, as the group’s King Of Rock blew the aforementioned pop doors off their hinges. Emboldened by their success (including the first rap album to ever go Gold); energized by worldwide touring and accolades; and given all the support they could want by a genius producer (Larry Smith), an open-minded label (Profile) and a charismatic manager (Russell Simmons, who also lent a hand on production), they ruled the charts and hinted at even greater things to come.
The album’s most fondly-remembered single set the album’s tone perfectly: “King Of Rock” was hard, full of charisma and tag-team vocal finesse, and had enough guitars to bring the suburbs into the rap fold. The song’s video was equally popular and powerful, and the pioneering MTV exposure drove the group into a new stratosphere.
But there was much more to King Of Rock than the title track, including more rock / rap hybrids – “Can You Rock It Like This” and “You’re Blind” – as well as the additional singles “Jam-Master Jammin’” and “You Talk Too Much.” (The latter, incidentally, charted as high as “King Of Rock” on both the Pop and R&B charts).
Throw in the forward-thinking reggae/rap collab “Roots, Rap, Reggae” (featuring the legendary Yellowman) and the live-throwdown-simulation “Darryl and Joe (Krush-Groove 3)” and the album – which went on to pass Platinum status – is a winner from A1 to B4.