The King's A Ruler, The Ruler Rules | Album Review Of Crown Royal By RUN-DMC
Classic Rating: 4 out of 6
Released: April 13, 2001
Sadly Crown Royal was RUN-DMC’s last album, also it was more of a “Run” album because of DMC’s vocal problems at the time. It’s their seventh album and it was released only 18 months before Jam Master Jay’s murder. Despite many critics belaboring the album for a supposed lack of direction, or for straying too far or not far enough from their roots, this album is solid. Crown Royal is packed with contemporary hip-hop tracks (in 2001), with excellent production, solid rhyming, and catchy hooks.
Crown Royal is filled with big name features, naysayers will cite too many rock artists (yet, that was always their style), but there are also guests like Nas, Prodigy, Fat Joe, and Method Man. This is real hip-hop anno 2001, with a couple slices of crossover hip-hop/rock like we’ve always seen from the boys. Let’s get into the best tracks on the album.
The album pops off with “It’s Over” featuring Jermaine Dupri, which is dramatic sounding, with choir singers and a ultra bouncy beat courtesy of the So So Def producer Don Chi Chi (JD). In spoken word, JD really lays the praise on the trio from Queens, which of course is totally deserving. They are legends!
The second track, “Queens Day” is as “real” as it gets with special guests from Queens, Nas and Prodigy. The beat (by Jam Master Jay) is the kind of beat that old school fans fiend for, with a smooth piano loop and boom-bap drums, while the guests drop memorable verses (so does Run). This is possibly the collaboration of the century, all that’s missing is DMC, sadly.
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Speaking of DMC, he’s present in his full glory on the third track “Crown Royal”, although only on the chorus and in sample form, but it does the track justice.
“The king's a ruler, the ruler rules, The king's a ruler, the ruler rules”
Musically it’s another home run by Jam Master Jay with a moody piano loop with special effects spliced in, while the epic chorus features majestic horns. This song is an ace!
Of all the rock songs on the album, “Take The Money And Run” is without a doubt the best of the bunch. It features the country-tinged white rapper Everlast who lends his voice to the chorus while Run handles the rapping (which is good for the song). Lyrically Run drops the classic RUN-DMC style message about the pitfalls of being a bonehead. The country style guitars work perfectly and musically this track has really stood the test of time!
While Crown Royal starts out really strong, the second half does level out, although it never becomes weak in any sense. This album was rightfully panned by critics for not being a true RUN-DMC album, but anybody who said/says this album is no good was/is a bonehead!
“The king's a ruler, the ruler rules The king's a ruler, the ruler rules Our father, who art in heaven Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, forever…”