With Run-D.M.C., King of Rock, and Raising Hell under their belts (or elastic waists - tracksuits for life!), the Hollis, Queens gods dropped Tougher Than Leather in 1988. The album showcases changes in rapping styles, lyrical content, and production, and this was probably in reaction to other now-classics that hit the rap world around the same time: Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded + By All Means Necessary, as well as releases from Eric B. & Rakim, Ice-T, & more. The rock aesthetic still there, and Rev Run & DMC tag-team through w/ power (not to mention Jam Master Jay flexing on the turntables) as expected, but they bring more substance to the groove: songs are edgier, more lyrically advanced, and they can rock out a party just as well. Run DMC really steps up its game and shows growth on Tougher Than Leather, and props to Get On Down for bringing back this underrated classic! Check out "Run's House," "Mary, Mary," "Beats to the Rhyme," "I'm Not Going Out Like That," and the title track.
- music label: Get On Down 1988 / 2017
reviewed by young christmas 05/2017
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