CCD Videos

Taco versus Grilled Cheese

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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Run DMC - "Raising Hell" (Profile, 1988) [key tracks: It's Tricky, Walk This Way]
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"I'll cut the head off the devil and I'll throw it at you!"
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Wow, I am managing to have a hard time deciding which LPs to post! Maybe I should spend so much energy on my studies... There has long been an uneasy relationship with rap music in the Midwest. It was (and is) at once feared and embraced. People in the Midwest like their very safe, very white world. Rock and Roll was a hard sell as it was... they burnt Beatles albums just north in Minnesota for Pete's sake! Then comes all these African Americans from DMZ-like neighborhoods in NY and LA. You can imagine the fear. Oddly, the whitest of the teens embraced rap as the "new punk"... many of us loving Ice T, Public Enemy, NWA, and Geto Boys immediately. There is no introduction to rap for white, 14 year old Carl Smith without MTV and Run DMC...
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Run DMC. What can be said about these guys that will do them justice. They were already established by the time "Raising Hell" was released. But for us pudgy, pale, corn-eating, pig raising, Iowans (like my stereotyping?) we were fine with either Hank Jr. or Poison. AC/DC got a lot of love here, and so did Def Leppard. So how did we ever hear this distinctly urban, coastal, and black music? Run DMC. That's how. By incorporating rock in their sound, and pairing up with Aerosmith for a cover of "Walk This Way", they ensured that they would be heard on every Top 40 white channel on the radio. And their unique sense of humor and style got their video on MTV non-stop. It's a great album, but almost laughable when you hear it now. The beats are so canned, and the lyrics are just shy of hardcore. I can still put in old LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, or BDP and feel the same way. Only Public Enemy really stands out as harder than we knew at the time... But its fun to hear songs like "My Addidas," "Dumb Girl," "You Be Illin'," and "Peter Piper." As a matter of fact, I grew up with an unnatural attachment to Addidas shoes (although I rarely was allowed to buy them) thanks to this LP. Run DMC were boundary crossers, and for better or worse, unleashed the age of Hip Hop upon America... a fad that has just recently seemed to stagnate. They may not want us Iowans wearing Kangols and pants down to our knee caps or co-opting their street lingo, but rap acts have gained an "industry" of the dollars of curious and devoted farmer's sons craving to hear music first exposed to us by Run DMC.
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School is such a funny thing. It never seems like there is enough time to get anything done, and when you are there its the last place you want to be. I will never understand how to balance my time around my entire social network and manage to get stuff done. I am finding out fast that I work best when I am left completely alone, which is a rare time to find. But on those days when I am allowed to plug away at my studies in anonymity I crave nothing more than a friendly face. I miss talking to my classmates... I went through a withdrawal after NCC, and I am doing it again now as I am being phased out of the P3 class. And I know my limits... I will not be able to form too many friendships next year, so I will be lonely among 100 others. If I don't have to get on Prozac in the next 2 years, I will never need it! : ) As for my former classmates, I already feel alien around them. I find myself asking them about their classes, and that's it. I miss Tahisha, Katie, all the Megans, Becca, Cody, Christian, Jim, Yiota, Becky, the Ashleys, Liz, and everyone else as well! It's a hard time to be Carl right now, lemme tell you. Good thing Iron Maiden keeps cranking out the hits!
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Horn's up and Happy Valentine's Day!
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1 comment:

Matt said...

Man, That album takes me back to Jr High. I know these guys don't have thug cred nor do they look like GAP models which pretty much means there days on MTV are over but I still think they are pretty cool. Makes me want to get some Adidas.