Review #209: Raising Hell, Run-DMC

Karla Clifton
3 min readDec 8, 2021

#209: Raising Hell, Run-DMC

Foundational hip-hop album alert. Nearly all the rap artists we’ve reviewed so far have cited Raising Hell as an influence. I almost wish I had come across it before I had already discovered Nineties rap.

Run-DMC was made up of Run (aka Joseph Simmons), DMC (aka Darryl McDaniels), and Jam Master Jay (aka Jason Mizell) who, as you might guess, was the group’s DJ. JMJ was actually murdered in 2002, which ultimately resulted in the dissolution of Run-DMN. The murder went unsolved for a long time but just last year, two people were arrested for the crime. The hand of justice often moves slowly, but boy is it exciting when it moves.

Anyway. This is the group’s third album, but their first one to be produced by Rick Rubin. If you recognize that name, it’s because Rubin has helped produce albums by the Beastie Boys, Slayer, Johnny Cash, Weezer, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, just to name a few.


“Peter Piper” — Have you heard this cowbell before? You almost certainly have, because it’s from “Take Me To The Mardi Gras” by Bob James — which is known as one of the most sampled songs in rap history. Interestingly, James’ version is a cover of a Paul Simon song.

“It’s Tricky” IT’S TRICKY/TO ROCK A RHYME/TO ROCK A RHYME/THAT’S RIGHT ON TIME/IT’S TRICKYYYY. Wanna know why this song is so catchy? Because it samples the Knack’s “My Sharona”!

“My Adidas” — Something I love about rap music is that rappers aren’t scared to plug products. In fact, this song resulted in the very first deal between a musical act and an athletic apparel company!

“Walk This Way (feat. Aerosmith)” — Yes, that’s right, Aerosmith joined Run-DMC for their extremely badass cover of this song. In fact, it charted higher than the original recording, and really helped revitalize Aerosmith’s career!

“Perfection” — I love when rap groups have a great rapport in their music. They’re friends!

“Hit It Run” — The repeated lyric “King of Rock” was the name of their last album.

“Raising Hell” — This guitar part is SO badass. I can’t figure out whether this is a sample or an original guitar part, or even who plays it. If anyone happens to know, please enlighten me!

“You Be Illin’” — I love story rap, especially when the story has a backtrack of saxophones.

“Son of Byford” — In which DMC gives us a brief summation of his family tree.

“Proud to Be Black” — What a great final track. So clean & concise.


“Dumb Girl” — My least favorite defense mechanism of dudes who get rejected is their insistence that women they can’t get with are “dumb.”


Of course not! It’s tricky to rock a rhyme! And Run-DMC consistently rocks them.

Review #208: Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne

Review #210: The Birth of Soul, Ray Charles