On this day in Hip Hop history [Thursday, January 21] Run-D.M.C. released their second studio LP, King of Rock.
The title of this project really dictates its sound. You can hear from the beginning of the album it’s heavily rock inspired production, with power chords and high energy drum patterns that imitated what was popular at the time in rock music throughout. This album is more than a substantial follow up to the slight rock and roll tone that was set on the group’s debut. King of Rock could have easily been just as successful if pushed as a new sound in rock music instead of as a Hip-Hop album.
Commercially, this album was quite successful. The album peaked at #52 on the Billboard 200 chart and #12 on the Hip Hop/R&B chart. The album sold 500,000 copies within the year of its release and was certified platinum the next year. This was the first rap album to ever achieve this honor.
Singles from this project include “King of Rock,” “You Talk Too Much” and “Can You Rock It Like This.” All three of these tracks made an appearance in the top 20 of the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Chart.
This album came at a time in the 80s where music was in need of a newer trend to follow. The Hip Hop of the time was leaning more heavily toward funk and soul as a source of inspiration and there wasn’t much sign of crossover coming from the ridiculously successful hard rock industry at the time. The synergy of the two sounds by Run-D.M.C. created a project not only easy for fan of both to listen to but bridged a gap in popular culture that opened the door for a lot of what is going on today in rap music.
It can be said that without King of Rock we wouldn’t have the rapper/rock stars that we do today. Artists like Travis Scott, Vic Mensa, Lil Uzi Vert, and Wiz Khalifa who all today have an image that can be compared to the rock stars of the 80s would not be as widely accepted if Run-D.M.C. never came out and made it to do so. This album merely adds to the long lost of ways Run-D.M.C. paved the way for the rest of rap to follow into commercial success. If you haven’t already, take some time out today to reminisce on the careers of some of the most important figures in Hip Hop and listen to this project. You won’t be disappointed.