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"Tougher Than Leather" came as the fourth album from the legendary New York Hip Hop trio, DJ Run, Jam Master Jay and D.M.C., better known as Run-D.M.C.. It has them show influence from the changes which the Hip Hop was going through a the time, 1988, as the Gangsta Rap scene out on the West Coast had recently emmerged.
1. "Run's House"
Currently used as the theme music to the relatity show of the same name, this one has DJ Run enforce his role as they leader in this Hip Hop game,and does it with a hyped-up track, where all the focus is one showing that they are completely in control, and there is room for no others.
2. "Mary, Mary"
One of the big singles from this album, you get them cme out with a very strong display of some Break Beat. It is one to show that "Peter Piper" wasn't a one-off, and come out with a banger of a cut (when you ignore the lack-luster chorus. This up-tempo cut is a banger, and amongst the best here.
3. "They Call Us Run-D.M.C."
Much of this one is built on samples of work by Doug E. Fresh and The Get Fresh Crew (particulalry MC Ricky D's parts) and, gets them rapping all their rhymes about themselves and how they are perceived to be in comparison to others out there. it is a lively one, and they do their rhymes in the style of "Run's House", which is representative of much of their work.
4. "Beats to the Rhyme"
You get some relentless raw raps from D.M.C. for this cut, and it works very well when combining it with the hard breaks from Jam Master Jay. It is a rough one whihc has them manage to encorporate their Rap Rock screaming vocals with a different style of prodcution to what it is usually done with.
5. "Radio Station"
This one takes on some Public Enemy as part of the hook, and this input hints on the tougher direction which they took when recording this album. The content of it is just as strong as the chorus which is made as the pair of MCs, D.M.C. and DJ Run don't let up with the rhymes.
6. "Papa Crazy"
I can't say that I liked this one too much as it had them go for a tune which was far too similar to "It's Tricky", which I consider to their most overrated track. They describe their father during this one, and to be honest it wasn't worth doing a full recording for.
7. "Tougher Than Leather"
The title track to the album has the group goign for some of their well-knwon Rap Rock, and unlike ealrier on in their career when the mix seemed to be too far in favour of the Rock side of things, you get more of a compromise and they comes up with a killer cut which surely appeals to all.
8. "I'm Not Going Out Like That"
You have some funkly beats on this exciting track by the trio. I felt that it was a rather average one through them, despite this strong production to support it. You have plain rhymes, which have been foudn from the start of their career, but the beats make up for it on the most part.
9. "How'd Ya Do It Dee"
D.M.C. gets things live with a build-up of spoken-word matieral before things break down and he gets a chance o rhyme to some nice beats By this point, I released that the ealry problmes fwith the group returned as the structure of the track follows exactly what is found on others on the album, showing a lack of creativity.
10. "Miss Elaine"
Here's another weak one from them as they choose to go for even more of the Rap Rock stuuf, where all the lyrics are shouted out by the vocal artists within the group. it wasn't that strong of a cut as it has a rather annoying chorus, and the guitaring seems to be very similar to all the others which they have done in the past.
11. "Soul to Rock and Roll"
This is a strong example of how well the group work when they attempt to get the Rock mixing with the traditional Hip Hop work which they helped to get into the mainstream. It is a head-banger from them, and gets them flowing with ease. It has them working very comfortably with a great composition.
To end things off, you get them bring the pace down for something experimental. They go on some Ragtime backing, and wtth it, Run decides to rap in the style of Slick Rick (who was closely-associated with the group, as they shared production from Jay Master Jay). I felt that the Ragtime feel wasn't fully exploered, however the nice rhymes supplement it.
When looking at this in relation to other albums which they have made, it is amongst the best, however I wouldn't say that it is too hard to do. The problems with the average rhymes and strong, but repeated beats, come back into it just like on their first thrid records. I would say its best to stick to a compilation, rather than getting this specific album.