The incalculably influential, formerly retired hip hop group Run-D.M.C. surprised the music world with the announcement that they're reuniting this November to perform at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX.
When I heard the Queens hip hop group was getting back together after a 10-year hiatus—a retirement prompted by the shocking murder of Jam Master Jay in 2002—I was taken aback for a moment. After all, following JMJ's passing, Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels explained, "We started together and we want the Run-D.M.C. legacy to always reflect the three of us together."
But after the initial surprise, I have to say I'm excited at the prospect of a Run-D.M.C. reunion—not so much for this Texas fest I probably won't attend, but at the prospect of them playing a venue closer to (me and) their old stomping grounds in New York. So let's take a look at the pros and the cons of this legendary group reuniting.
Run-D.M.C. Reunion: Why It's Awesome
1. It's A Chance to See the Most Pivotal Group In Rap History
Run-D.M.C. changed hip hop from funk or electro-based party music (not that there's anything wrong with that!) into a brittle-beat-based, hard-hitting form of musical expression. Yes, they introduced gold chains and Adidas to rap culture, but more importantly, they fathered in everything from hardcore rap to gangsta rap, to the idea that rap artists could produce solid, meaningful albums.
2. Most of Their Hits Haven't Aged
Maybe their Aerosmith collabo "Walk This Way" is inextricably linked to the 1980s, but tracks like "It's Tricky," "It's Like That" and "Sucker M.C.'s (Krush Groove 1)" are just as vital as the day they hit wax over 25 years ago. And the humor in "You Be Illin'" and "You Talk Too Much" still shames most of the tepid rap album skits of the last two decades.
Run-D.M.C. Reunion: Why It's Sort Of Weird
1. They're (Obviously) Performing Without Jam Master JayReuniting when an essential group member has died is inherently strange, even more so in this case, given that Jason Mizell's murder is still unsolved. Not to say it's inappropriate, but it does give an odd air to the proceedings.
2. Neither Have Been Too Musically Active Since Their Breakup
Both have had exactly one solo album apiece since retiring Run-D.M.C.—not the most prolific output, although D.M.C. has been working on a long-delayed second solo LP. But perhaps by getting back together onstage, they'll be able to jump start the collaborative magic they had together.
Overall, the cons are sort of moot in my case, because given the chance I would definitely go see Run-D.M.C. perform. And ultimately, it's their legacy to do as they wish with. What do you think? Are you excited Run-D.M.C. is reuniting? Do you hope they'll embark on a full tour? Let us know in the comments below.