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"Back From Hell" was released in 1990 and came as the fifth Run-D.M.C album. On it, the trio (consisting of DJ Run, D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay) come with a new sound, one which had them still incorporating Rock into their arsenal, but having it slightly shifted with the advent of New Jack Swing as they hoped to show that although their sound had become rather commercialised and others had taken their place by this point, they still had room to show they still deserved a place in the game.
1. "Sucker D.J.s"
The album kicks off with them reminding us of where they started things, with "Sucker MC's"; their breakthrough single. Here they twist it and turn thins towards the DJs who think they can compete with Jam Master Jay (although the prominence of DJs in Hip Hop had faded by this time). And do so over the same heavy beats which made them stand out so much as they brought about the turn away from the Old School period of Hip Hop pre-1983.
2. "The Ave"
Here they move off the starter with a track that has them showing that they kind fit right in with the current sound as they get down to a little something with more of a contemporary sound, and something that has D.M.C taking the lead role in as he goes off and comes goes off on top of the thumping beats over the low-paced stuff that you didn't really expect to get from this act (when compared to all their early work). It isn't really all that special and doesn't really offer that much.
3. "What's It All About"
Here we see that the Breakbeats are thrown down and we get the first feel of Run-D.M.C on a New Jack Swing tip. I have to say that I really wasn't pleased to see this kind of thing from them, but it shows that just as others from their generation (LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and a few others) they were trying to show that they could get down with all the current trends (although the Beastie Boys were the only ones of these not to try out a little Gangsta Rap.
4. "Bob Your Head"
Here they drop a cut that tells us exactly what we should be doing as we listen to it, and when you listen to any album from them (up to this point) you would expect to be doing that anyway, but when you here the sort of stuff that they expect us to get down to here, it's just not happening as we are forced to feel a tune that sounds as far as possible from the sort of thing they are known for as they come through with what sounds like their impression of the kind of thing that fans expect of a slowed-down Run-D.M.C track.
This is a pure New Jack Swing track from them and shows that they have really come out with the perfect sound of the time and are bang on what the whole R&B scene at the time was doing and what much of the East Coasters in the Rap game were down for at the time as the pace was increased to fit in with the higher pace of rhyming (which Rakim had introduced in 1987) and in this case it makes for a pretty good one.
6. "Kick The Frama Lama Lama"
They suddenly drop things back down to the slower stuff, causing for lots of confusion, and from here they come into a little something that has them flowing out a little something that sounds like the kind of thing that they expect listeners to get out of them (with storytelling on the rise) but here it really doesn't go down too well as they appear to recreate the "Peter Piper" feel of things, but completely lose it.
Another New Jack Swing cut, for this one we see that they choose to do something positive for us as they come out with a jam that has them rhyming about all the kinds of things they want to get rid of in black culture. Personally, I didn't think that this one was anywhere near as strong as what else we've heard from them in the past and so it means that we aren't able to say that they have even managed to master this Swingbeat stuff 9as they have turned to it to potentially held their future career.
8. "Word is Born"
Apparently confusing the term 'word is bond' with what they come with on this one, they come out with a track that has them rhyming over a little something that sounds like a straight riup from some classic Big Daddy Kane material (which would have been released just a year before this ended up being recorded. The tune shows just how unoriginal they had become by this point and how desperate they seem to try and hold it all together.
9. "Back From Hell"
On this one we see that they use more material that makes me think that they took a lot from Big Daddy Kane on this album as they use the "Impeach The President" break, and with it they attempt to show that they are able to ride it just as well as any others (as innovators of the whole Rap scene as it was by this point). However I really can't say that they were successful when you see what they do with it lyrically.
10. "Don't Stop"
Another track that apparently takes on a lot of the kind of thing that Teddy Riley, Bobby Brown and Heavy D brought to the Hip Hop and R&B scene during the late eighties, here we have a track that has them showing that they can handle the speedy stuff with a smooth R&B hook in order to compete with other big names in the game and I felt that it sounded like more failed attempts for them to do it.
11. "Groove To The Sound"
Here we have them seemingly trying to direct us to "Beats To The Rhyme" on this one they come with a track, which has them coming off all the high-tempo-ed beats and back on the kind of things that have much more of a underground feel to it. However, when you consider just how deep the commercial sound of the act was by this time, it just sounded as though they were going over the top with it all.
12. "P Upon A Tree" (Lude)
For this one we see that we have Run coming off a wasteful interlude where they show more of their Reggae influence (not that it went too well the first time around) as he shows that he's got what it takes to compete with other storytellers. Unfortunately this is far from the case and it has him showing how outdated his style is and how it can't stand up during this time when so many fresh acts came up.
14. "Livin' In The City" (Lude)
15. "Not Just Another Groove"
After a quick piece from them, we see that on this one we have them coming out with a jam that has them taking influence from "Teddy's Groove" in that here we see that Jam Master jay comes with a tune that has him showing where he gets all his breaks from and sticks this together with some pretty fresh rhymes from the two MCs. I felt that it was an improvement upon a lot of the rest, but still not as good as we should get from them.
16. "Party Time"
The album ends with this one as we see that they come out with a track that has been recorded simply to create a party feel. We see that they go about it by coming out with a jam that takes on lots of the kinds of things that had been heard by the people who had come up between 1987 and 1987 out on the East Coast, but it didn't do them justice at all and reinforced their commercial look when compared to others.
Everyone knows this as a hugely disappointing album from the act and its one that only sounds so bad because they sound so desperate to fit in with the current crowd and have no plans on sticking to what they were known for, however they rhymes and approach to offering them with the production they use simply isn't enough to show that they were still relevant by this time.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sucker DJ's
3 What's It All About
4 Bob Your Head
6 Kick The Frama Lama Lama
8 Word Is Born
9 Back From Hell
10 Don't Stop
11 Groove To The Sound
12 P Upon A Tree
14 Livin' In The City
15 Not Just Another Groove
16 Party Time