The Album That Invented Hardcore Hip-Hop: Run-D.M.C. Changed the Sound of Music and Popular Culture
Run-D.M.C.'s 1984 Debut Benefits from Definitive Restorative Treatment on 180g Mobile Fidelity SuperVinyl 33RPM LP: Limited to 3,000 Numbered Copies
1/2" / 15 IPS analog master to DSD 256 to analog console to lathe
The impact, influence, and importance of Run-D.M.C.'s self-titled debut – the album that invented hardcore hip-hop and bridged rap, rock, and funk in then-unparalleled ways – cannot be measured. The first full-length record released by Profile Records, the 1984 set permanently changed the sound of music, broadcast streetwise wisdom to every corner of the country, and made the notion of a one-man band a distinct reality. Bolstered by an incendiary blend of staccato deliveries, stark beats, aggressive exchanges, evocative hooks, and socially conscious messages, Run-D.M.C. still hits listeners in the jaw with the same intensity it did nearly 40 years ago when it could be heard booming from ghetto blasters carried around city blocks nationwide.
Sourced from the original master tapes and pressed on MoFi SuperVinyl, Mobile Fidelity's numbered-edition 180g SuperVinyl 33RPM LP is the definitive-sounding version of the groundbreaking work cited by Rolling Stone as the 378th Greatest Album of All Time. This reissue also represents the first time this gold-certified effort has been presented in audiophile quality. Benefitting from the ultra-low noise floor, superb groove definition, and dead-quiet surfaces of SuperVinyl, Run-D.M.C. now plays with a clarity, immediacy, punchiness, and directness worthy of the artistry, urgency, and intellect of the trio's material.
The brilliance of Russell Simmons and Larry Smith's production comes into view as if the music is being broadcast on a giant system in a small club — only more focused, lively, and unlimited. Free of dynamic constraints and fatiguing harshness, this LP invites you to turn up the volume and experience the raw, rough, invigorating songs that changed the look, sound, and feel of hip-hop overnight. Think the trio’s sparse framework of drum machines, tag-team rhymes, keyboard accents, and turntable scratches is stuck in the mid-80s? Spin MoFi’s SuperVinyl LP and gain new appreciation for the music, messages, and production on display on Run-D.M.C.
Recorded in the wake of two successful and pioneering singles, both included on the album, Run-D.M.C. effectively took a sheet of coarse-grit sandpaper to the polish, sheen, and linear presentation of all the hip-hop that preceded it. Stripped to bare-bones foundations, the songs grab your attention and shake you by the collar with a combination of industrial-leaning rhythms, staggered deliveries, dance drama, and hard, minimalist percussion. Then there are the lyrics.
The LP broadcasts a smart mix of boots-on-the-ground reports, uplifting advice, and then-nascent b-boy culture. In one fell swoop, its narratives and music rendered the scene’s proclivity toward glamor and softness passé. Run-D.M.C.’s tough, cool-minded fashion sense showed the trio walked its talk and gave fans — particularly those living in long-ignored urban areas — heroes which with they could identify. Kangol hats, black jeans, leather jackets, Adidas sneaks, and gold chains were the new currency.
In every regard, Run-D.M.C. signifies the birth of modern hip-hop. Never more obviously than on the groundbreaking “Rock Box,” where rap and rock were first fused. As the first hip-hop video to receive regular rotation on MTV, the track eviscerated racial and social boundaries, awakened musicians and listeners to new possibilities, and redefined both popular music and, ultimately, popular culture. As the Roots’ Questlove has stated, it “ knocked down many obstacles, enabling hip-hop to become the new gospel."
Such teaching includes the real-world scripture of “Hard Times,” utopian hopefulness of “Wake Up,” and observational truths of “It’s Like That.” Released as the group’s debut single well before its eponymous album, the latter tune established themes and outlooks Run-D.M.C. would embrace during its career. Namely, the keen awareness of various prejudices, economic ills, and disruptive violence as well as the knowledge that education, self-motivation, and hard work were the ways to escape disadvantages and disillusionment.
Inspired and inspirational, the song reflects the spirit and shrewdness that courses throughout Run-D.M.C. That includes a detailed account of the trio’s not-so secret weapon (“Jam-Master Jay”), purpose statement (“Hollis Crew (Krush-Groove 2)”), and a revolutionary hybrid autobiographical narrative-dis track (“Sucker M.C.’s (Krush-Groove 1)”) widely regarded as one of the best hip-hop songs ever created. The same can be said for every moment on Run-D.M.C.
Developed by NEOTECH and RTI, MoFi SuperVinyl is the most exacting-to-specification vinyl compound ever devised. Analog lovers have never seen (or heard) anything like it. Extraordinarily expensive and extremely painstaking to produce, the special proprietary compound addresses two specific areas of improvement: noise floor reduction and enhanced groove definition. The vinyl composition features a new carbonless dye (hold the disc up to the light and see) and produces the world's quietest surfaces. This high-definition formula also allows for the creation of cleaner grooves that are virtually indistinguishable from the original lacquer. MoFi SuperVinyl provides the closest approximation of what the label's engineers hear in the mastering lab.