This Is How RUN-DMC's Albums Are Ranked | And That's The Way It Is

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Classic Hip Hop Magazine’s rankings use the most credible methods to determine an artists best albums

This is Classic Hip Hop Magazine’s first official album ranking. As promised we have finally made it to the point where we can begin the best hip-hop albums ranking ever. With our thorough analysis and mathematical calculation of every single song on each and every album we review. Now we can officially begin this exciting new chapter of Classic Hip Hop Magazine.

Introduction To Run-DMC

First out of the gate is the legendary trio from Queens, the one and only Run-D.M.C. (R.I.P. Jam Master Jay). The group is undoubtably one of the best to ever do it and they deservedly received their place in the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009. They not only spearheaded a movement, but lasted over a decade and continued to stay relevant all the way.

Putting God First

They put God first and tried to live their best life despite having their own personal challenges and human imperfections. The baritone voiced DMC, has had his battles with depression and alcohol abuse, but he always put the G-O-D first in his lyrics. They were that rare example of a hip-hop group which were truly good role models for teenagers and young adults. They always talked about the pitfalls and dangers of living a criminal lifestyle. While also dropping many jewels about personal responsibility and success. They were true role models.

The Reverand Run & The Murder Of A Great DJ

DJ Run eventually became Rev. Run so he could officially spread the good word. Aside from being a practicing minister he also has achieved success on reality TV with his MTV show Run’s House. Sadly the third member of the group, their DJ, Jam Master Jay, was murdered at a recording studio in Queens. It’s rumored in the hip hop community that a drug dealer associated with Murder Inc. was behind the murder. JMJ’s murder remains unsolved until this day.

The King’s A Ruler, The Ruler Rules

RUN-DMC were and still are the greatest hip-hop group of all-time according to this magazine. With no further ado, lets’s dive into Run-DMC’s best albums in order from least best to best.

7. Run-DMC - Crown Royal (2001) *

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How Classic: 4 / 6

Their last album was officially a Run-DMC album but should have been a RUN-Jam Master Jay album. Due to vocal issues DMC could not or didn’t want to participate on this album. Still Crown Royal is packed with good contemporary hip-hop tracks. The usual hip-hop/rock tracks are also included, “Take The Money And Run” being the best of that bunch. The beginning of the album is really strong, with great songs like “It’s Over”, “Queens Day” and “Crown Royal”, but the album levels out during the second half. In theory Crown Royal could have placed fourth, had it been a real Run-DMC record.

6. Run-DMC - Back From Hell (1990)

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How Classic: 4 / 6

Their fifth album (a first for any rap group/artist) was released during the advent of gangsta rap and harder sounding rap. Although the do curse a bit more, they still tell tales of the tragic side of street life, never trying at all to be street themselves. They also drop most of their rock influenced material and focus on contemporary rap/dance sounds. The lyrics are decidely more conscious, more akin to their debut, with several interesting themes such as race, crime, and prison. Back From Hell is a very good album, consistent but without those standout classics.

5. Run-D.M.C. - King Of Rock (1985)

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How Classic: 4 / 6

Their second album was more rock oriented than their debut and had more complex production overall. Ironically, while attempting to get more sales, none of the songs here charted higher than the singles on their raw hip-hop debut. Although this record is less hard-hitting and memorable than their debut, they deserve credit for continuing to push the rock/hip-hop sound into new territories. The title track is a classic and a great example of their forward thinking ways.

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4. RUN-DMC - Down With The King (1993)

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How Classic: 4 / 6

Their sixth album, Down With The King, is interesting because it sees Run-DMC spearheading a movement for the second time in their career. Released during the height of West Coast Gangsta Rap, this album came out one year ahead of the New York renaissance of ‘94. While this album is very strong, a mediocre last quarter detracts from its overall impact. The title track is a classic.

3. RUN-DMC - Tougher Than Leather (1988)

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How Classic: 5 / 6

Their fourth album sees them embrace more sophisticated sampling techniques (which was the trend in ‘88) and distance themselves a bit from the rock influenced material. Sometimes the production goes overboard and detracts a bit from the overall impact, but the production is of a high caliber nonetheless. The album is incredibly solid from beginning to end and the track “Beats To The Rhyme” is a classic.

2. RUN-DMC - Raising Hell (1986)

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How Classic: 5 / 6

Their third release is a return to their roots of raw, stripped down beats with more of the beat and less of the melody. Although they do incorporate some rock, “Walk This Way” is a classic, and there’s “It’s Tricky” which is also a classic with a mostly hip-hop style. This album offers an abundance of great material and solidified RUN-DMC as legends in the making.

1.  RUN-DMC - RUN-D.M.C. (1984)

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How Classic: 5 / 6

Their first album spearheaded a movement called the new school of hip-hop, in which the songs were shorter and had simpler instrumentation. Together with the music, the image they portrayed was more of a common everyday street look, with sneakers and jeans. Not only did they shape the sound of future hip-hop, but they also borrowed from hard rock making them appealing to a crossover audience. Yet, they never became something they were not, and their booming hip-hop sound carries most of the material. Lyrically they had an ability to deliver an authentic, yet conscious, message without sounding contrived. They were just speaking their minds and telling you to make smart choices in life and maintain a positive and winning attitude. Despite whatever odds you were facing you must strive for something better. They stressed studying hard at school and working hard in life, all while having fun with hip-hop. RUN-DMC are true legends who produced many classic songs and this album shows you why they are the greatest hip-hop group of all-time!

It’s Like That...And That’s The Way It Is

Alexander Ramalho