TALE OF THE TAPE:
Years Covered: Entire career 1983 to 2001
Length of Album: 113:00 (out of a possible 158:00 on 2 cds)
Chronological or Mix Disc Format: Mix Disc
Number of New Tracks: none
Number of Unreleased/Hard To Find Tracks: 3
What *isn’t* on this: “Can You Rock It Like This”, “Jam-Master Jay”, “Hit It Run”, “I’m Not Going Out Like That”, “What’s It All About”.
What would I have done differently?: I would have added several more key cuts from the first 4 albums. I would have added a couple more rarities or 12″ cuts and placed “Christmas in Hollis” at the end. And I would have included the full album version of “Walk This Way”, “Rock Box” and “King Of Rock”, not the single edits. There’s plenty of room.
Overview: The collection does a fairly good job summing up Run-D.M.C.’s career. However a chronological collection would serve them much better. It is quite jarring to go from “Beats To The Rhyme” to “Ooh Whatcha Gonna Do”. The collection tries to be fair and give some weight to the last two albums Down With The King and Crown Royal, but other than “Down With The King’ these albums were more footnotes than anything, muddled with guest appearances and changing production styles from one track to the next. But you do get a fair chunk of the best stuff from Run-D.M.C, King of Rock, Raising Hell and Tougher Than Leather. But if you are an old school hip-hop aficionado, you already have these albums. Therefore, just seek out digital versions of the 3 rare tracks.
About the rare tracks: You get three hard to find 12″ mixes here. First, the original long version of “Pause” with an extra verse and longer outro. Even thought many hated this period, I always liked this song. You also get the rare 12″ B-side version of “Back From Hell” featuring Ice Cube and Chuck D. It’s great to have this document of some of the best emcees of all time coming together, but the original version was my favorite cut on that album. Lastly they give us the superior 12″ long remix of Jam-Master Jammin’. This is also available as a bonus track on the remaster of the self-titled first album.
The Verdict: This is a fairly cheap double disc, and good if you are just starting out and if you can get it for cheap. My recommendation to a new fan though is to go with the single disc collections of you can get them cheaper, like Ultimate Run-D.M.C., or the out of print but excellent Greatest Hits (Arista).
“King of Rock”: