Run D.M.C.

Run-D.M.C.’s emergence in the early 1980s set the template for much of modern hip hop.


Viewing/Listening Guide

Note that this guide is not meant to replace careful study of the assigned texts. Instead, this guide highlights some of the important ideas and information found in these songs and videos. To do well on our tests, quizzes, and class discussions, you will need a thorough knowledge of everything assigned.

Jay-Z, in Decoded, writes about the massive influence “Sucker MC’s” had on him as a 14-year-old growing up in the Brooklyn projects:

“With that song hip-hop felt like it was starting to find its style and swagger and point of view: it was going to be raw and aggressive, but also witty and slick. It was going to boast and compete and exaggerate. But it was also going to care enough get the details right about our aspirations and our crumb-snatching struggles, our specific, small realities….It was going to be real. Before Run-DMC, rappers dressed like they were headed to supper clubs for after-dinner drinks, or in full costume. Run-DMC looked like the streets, in denim, leather, and sneakers” (10).

The video of the Sugarhill Gangย  on Soul Train illustrates the “supper-club” style that rappers adopted before Run D.M.C.