3 Kings (RUN-D.M.C.)
Back in 83, when I was about ten years of age, my usual Friday routine once I came home from school would be to bum a blank cassette tape off of whoever in my household had one to spare. If nobody had an extra, I would then try to find an old factory cassette with content already on it, then I`d place scotch tape over these two square holes at the top of the cartridge. This enabled me to record over what existed initially, an early form of overwriting if you will. After that, I would wait impatiently for the mix shows to come on either KACE,KJLH, KGFJ, or KDAY. I`d settle on whatever station was rockin` the hardest then press record on my Emerson tape deck (also equipped with a record player and FM/AM radio). Mix shows came on around 8 pm on Friday and Saturday, so for about an hour, I would edit out commercials and songs that didn`t move me while I marveled at the D.J.`s performing audible magic. And even though I was allowed to stay up longer on the weekends, I still ended up falling asleep around 11 pm. Sometimes I`d wake up hype to hear what I missed, only to realize I dozed off during a commercial break, meaning I never un-paused the cassette in the deck. So, I only had what I`d already heard which was fine, but the treats usually came when I was able to record beyond my edits. One time, in particular, I rewound my tape and stopped it where I thought I hadn`t heard, then pressed play. I hear this fresh ass beat with these synth hits as it began to blend with "Tour de France" by Kraftwerk. I rewound a little farther back, pressed play again when I heard "It`s like that, and that`s the way it is, HUH!". I rewound it a bit more to listen for the blend point. Then I caught it, "Un-em-ployment at a record high..."! I was like "Yo, who is this?". It was something about the strength and contrast of their voices, along with the message they were conveying, similar to "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five yet not quite as heavy. Still, it was FRESH!
I needed to know who and what I had stumbled upon so I could play it in its entirety at my leisure. But since it came on during the mix show the name of this group remained a mystery for a while. Eventually, someone put me up on game telling me that Run-D.M.C. was their name. "RUN-D.M.C., what a strange name for a group?", I thought to myself. But still, I kept my eye out for their album (or 12-inch) until I finally found it at the Roadium Swapmeet. Bam, there it was! Run and D the MC on the front, a black and white photo of the two with their name in orange and fuchsia letters (predating their iconic logo that didn`t exist until their 3rd LP "Raising Hell"). Once purchased, their album pretty much served as my instructional rap record. At the time, I had no idea how important they would be far as furthering the scope of Hip-Hop to the masses. Also, you couldn`t have told me in a million years that a pivotal member of this group would be checking for me once I became a formidable spitter thirteen years after my introduction to them. And I probably would`ve swung on you if you told me he would meet an unfortunate and untimely demise five years after our introduction to each other...