Song of the Day #4,952: ‘It’s Like That’ – Run-D.M.C.

My look back at 1984 has been pretty heavy on rock music so far, but the year also saw the release of at least one pioneering rap album.

Run-D.M.C.’s self-titled debut was one of the first new-school hip-hop albums, replacing the disco-influenced tracks of the late 70s and early 80s with spare tracks driven by staccato drum machines and more aggressive rhyming. You can hear the seeds of both Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys on this record.

This album sounds rather quaint today, but I can imagine it was quite a shock to the system back in 1984. RUn-D.M.C., and rap in general, were entirely off my radar at that time in my life, but I’d love to hear the recollections of any readers who recall this release.

[Run]
Unemployment at a record high
People coming, people going, people born to die
Don’t ask me, because I don’t know why
But it’s like that, and that’s the way it is

[D.M.C.]
People in the world tryin to make ends meet
You try to ride car, train, bus, or feet
I said you got to work hard, you want to compete
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Huh!

[Run & D.M.C. alternate lines for the remainder of the song]
Money is the key to end all your woes
Your ups, your downs, your highs and your lows
Won’t you tell me the last time that love bought you clothes?
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Bills rise higher every day
We receive much lower pay
I’d rather stay young, go out and play
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Huh!

Wars going on across the sea
Street soldiers killing the elderly
Whatever happened to unity?
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Disillusion is the word
That’s used by me when I’m not heard
I just go through life with my glasses blurred
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Huh!

You can see a lot in this lifespan
Like a bum eating out of a garbage can
You noticed one time he was your man
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

You should have gone to school, you could’ve learned a trade
But you laid in the bed where the bums have laid
Now all the time you’re crying that you’re underpaid
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Huh!

One thing I know is that life is short
So listen up homeboy, give this a thought
The next time someone’s teaching why don’t you get taught?
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

If you really think about it times aren’t that bad
The one that flexes with successes will make you glad
Stop playing start praying, you won’t be sad
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Huh!

When you feel you fail sometimes it hurts
For a meaning in life is why you search
Take the bus or the train, drive to school or the church
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Here’s another point in life you should not miss
Do not be a fool who’s prejudiced
Because we’re all written down on the same list
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Huh!

You know it’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Because it’s like that, and that’s the way it is
(Repeat these lines til fade)

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,952: ‘It’s Like That’ – Run-D.M.C.

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I first became aware of rap in junior high school with the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” However, beyond that, I really paid little to no attention to rap (or hip hop) for the next 4 to 5 years. I’m sure that was in part because, like most white kids at the time, my entry point into music was watching far too much MTV, and, as is well known, that channel didn’t play black artists until around 1983.

    So, my first exposure to Run DMC came after their self titled album with the release of “Walk this Way.” While I liked that remake, I didn’t think all that much about follow-up singles like “It’s Tricky.” Anyway, I remained fairly distant from hip hop until the 90s so, like you, I largely missed the wave.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Not crazy about this compared to more current rap and hip hop. The drums sound like they are emanating from a nightmare. Sociologically though the lyrics are touching, describing sad conditions in many lives.

    • Amy says:

      Fascinating to see you pop on for only today’s SOTD 🙂 And, yes, it’s touching to see the focus on lives that had often been ignored by music previously.

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