May 14

RUN DMC vs JASON NEVINS – “It’s Like That”

Popular37 comments • 6,514 views

#787, 21st March 1998

nevins “Won’t you tell me the last time that love bought you clothes?” Talk gets little realer than “It’s Like That”, Run DMC’s debut single mix of fatalism, pragmatism and ultimately optimism, set to a beat like a medicine ball bounced off the walls of some vast concrete bunker. Over that crushing sound, Run and DMC shout to be heard, trading and declaiming lines like duelling street preachers. It’s deservedly known as a landmark single, a record that takes the sharp, rhyme-swapping camaraderie of the early hip-hop groups somewhere bigger and harder.

Jason Nevins, encountering this bomb-blast of a record, decides it would be improved by a crunching, unflinching house beat. He is wrong. This remix is, admittedly, loud and effective, almost as brutal in its unrelenting way as the original. But it’s far less accomplished and interesting. Its inane additions – the sped-up “Run DMC and Jam Master Jay!” squeaks, for instance – just disrupt the relentless, overlapping forward motion of the original MCs. It drowns DMC’s voice in particular, and muffles a lot of the group’s inflections in the process. They may be talking about poverty and economic disaster, but they’re also young men grabbing onto their chance of success, and there’s a grim, cocksure relish in their storytelling. Nevins’ beat can’t completely smother that, but it doesn’t help either, putting all the weight on the title refrain, making “It’s like that – and that’s the way it is!” a slogan where it once was a payoff. Nevins’ beat is the sort of route-one 4/4 thump that has always infuriated and fuelled people who hate house music – there’s a place in my heart for that completely straight-ahead approach (and, if I’m honest, for the way it riles people), but here it sacrifices too much.

The video further lets on what’s happening. It’s a girls vs boys breakdance battle in a warehouse, and its omnipresence on video channels contributed a lot to the remix’s six-week stay at Number One. But taken in tandem with that unbroken beat, it’s revealing. This record isn’t updating the sound or content of early hip-hop, or even engaging with it at all in any productive sense: it’s simply using it as texture. Nevins may not be a Europop producer, but it’s a very Europop sensibility. And indeed the “It’s Like That” remix was number one across Europe, largely in countries which had never paid much attention to old school rap.

There’s nothing especially wrong about that situation (and I suspect it made Run-DMC richer than anything since Aerosmith had), but it makes this feel like rather a tawdry number one – something made with no especial sympathy for its source. It’s a particular shame that Nevins simply lops the end off the “It’s Like That”, omitting the last two verses. Those turn their back on the rest of the song’s harsh emphasis on self-reliance, informing listeners that really their best bet is to lean on some larger institution (church or education, the group don’t judge either way). It’s a sentiment that “It’s Like That” has fought its way towards, and the song is not improved by dropping it. Elsewhere, enough of the thunderbolt original is preserved for this remix to just about work, though it’s all despite Jason Nevins, not because of him. Rarely was a “versus” more earned.



  1. 1
    AMZ1981 on 5 May 2014 #

    This took off so strongly that it held Stop by the Spice Girls at bay – the only one of their heyday singles to miss out on the top. Four weeks into its run (Celine Dion brushed the Spice Girls aside to return to the runner up slot for three weeks, denying Sash his usual number two spot in the process) the midweeks suggested that Busta Rhymes would replace it with the Knightrider sampling Turn It Up but It’s Like That held on.

  2. 2
    swanstep on 5 May 2014 #

    Tom has this one right I think: the House Washing Machine is completely maddening, and the lopping off of the payoff verses at the end of the song is ridiculous (I’ve searched for an extended mix that has the final verses but can’t find one. If anyone can find such a thing, please post a link to it here.) But this remix was a massive hit everywhere but the US (e.g., 2 weeks at #1 and another 14 weeks in the top 5 in NZ), so, ‘Money is the key’ and all that, I’m sure it helped pay Run DMC’s mortgages, put their kids through college, etc..

    I have to confess that the original track didn’t quite do it for me at the time. ‘It’s Like That’ seemed to have less musical and vocal and lyrical personality than key entries in the Melle Mel/Grandmaster Flash ‘social issues’ genre it continued, and I much preferred ‘Beat Street Breakdown’ from around the same time (and was a bit miffed when it got overlooked and people were on to the next big thing!).

    Anyhow, the original’s still a 7, whereas this remix is energetic and kinda fun but so spectacularly point-missing that being very generous I arrive at Tom’s score:

  3. 3
    Kinitawowi on 5 May 2014 #

    I note that the cover art puts “Jason Nevins” in inverted commas, as if it’s not a real name; some attempt to devalue his contribution, perhaps, to let Run DMC hold on.

    Shame that I can’t recall ever identifying a lyric other than that sloganised title refrain. This remix isn’t about the lyrical content that made old-school rap and hip-hop relevant to their source cultures, it’s emphasising how the lyrical patterns contribute to the rhythm and beat. And while rap always had that (that’s part of what makes it rap, natch), it suggests that we’re now into the “dumb party rap” model that Fifty Pence (in particular) and co will make a mint out of for the next decade.


  4. 4
    punctum on 5 May 2014 #

    The British equivalent would have been something like Leftfield getting to number one with a dance remix of “Anarchy In The U.K.” but at least Nevins’ hard house retooling provided another opportunity for another long-standing wrong to be righted; slipping out almost unnoticed in late 1983 as one half of a double A-sided single with “Sucker MCs,” the original “It’s Like That” was the temporal beginning of what we now know as hip hop; a rawer lyrical and architectural approach, harder yet more elastic beats, a genuine freshness which thoroughly justified the many comparisons made with early rock ‘n’ roll at the time. As with the rest of their eponymous debut album, which followed a year later to substantially greater notice, it sounds like the product of a bedroom and a loved record collection with definite leanings towards something even greater.

    Though less acidly explicit lyrically than the likes of “The Message,” “It’s Like That” nonetheless lays down the same warnings and guidelines; stay in school, learn about the world you’re about to inhabit (“The next time someone’s teaching why don’t you get taught?”), make something of yourself as the ultimate act of defiance against a world which would otherwise defecate on you and yours, as they reflect on the duplicitous anti-charm of money as goal in itself, the mindless pursuit of transient pleasures, and the foreign policy that it all goes to subsidise (“Street soldiers killing the elderly/Whatever happened to unity?”), throughout chanting the refrain “It’s like that – and that’s the way it is” with the heaviest of irony but also in the manner of a demand that you, the listener, do something towards finding or creating another, better way. Nevins’ bone-squashing beats and whooshing asteroids place the song in a new and still relevant late nineties context as a form of reproachment – you mean that’s still the way it is, fifteen years later? But he got Run-DMC their shamefully belated number one and their rightful place in this survey; although their vital creative life lasted barely three years (1983-6 – the first three albums, and most vitally of all for building bridges with the outside/other world, the historic “Rock Box”/”King Of Rock”/”Walk This Way” triptych, one of the still small nexus of sequences of pop records which have demonstrably changed things), and Jam Master Jay became one of the most recent, and saddest, casualties of the most useless of “wars,” their key work remains alive and radical; the sequence at the end of “The Boom Boom Bap” where Green lovingly croons and caresses the tracklisting of their debut album confirms that he really was speaking for several concomitant generations.

  5. 5
    iconoclast on 5 May 2014 #

    I may be showing my more or less complete ignorance of the genre here, but if there’s more to this than that incessant and very wearying two-note bass-line and the social conscience of the rapping, I’m completely unable to hear it. FOUR.

  6. 6
    Ed on 5 May 2014 #

    A sign of advancing years: this is the first cover / remix we meet on Popular that really appalled me as a travesty of the original. Like many people, I discovered Run DMC through ‘Walk This Way’, and have loved them ever since. And one of the things that I love in particular is the drum programming: they way they take a basic DMX drum machine and make it swing, and funk, and rock.

    So when this muppet “Jason Nevins” – was he ever heard of before? or since? – comes and smears what Tom rightly calls his “route-one 4/4 thump” all over it, it gets me very annoyed.

    It’s not a technique that I always hate: I think the Boogie Pimps’ ‘Somebody to Love’, for example, is great. But that’s a song I am much less emotionally invested in. This is one I really find unlistenable.

    And finally, I am going to hand the mike to Green Gartside: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhYdgYQi92I&feature=kp

    (Updated to note that Punctum got there before me with the Scritti shout-out.)

  7. 7
    Tommy Mack on 5 May 2014 #

    In 1998, I was torn between loving the steamdrill power of this and finding it very irritating. I danced to this in many crap provincial nightclubs over the next few years and seem to remember it still getting played in students’ unions once I got to university (which would have been 2000-1). Now I have the original on Run DMC’s Greatest Hits, there’s no need to ever listen to this again. Jason Nevins also did himself no favours for continually pointing out in interviews that he ‘only’ got paid three grand for the remix, apparently oblivious to the notion that Run DMC might have done his career a favour as well as the other way around.

  8. 8
    Alan not logged in on 5 May 2014 #

    Y’all being harsh, and (unusually) hung up on respect to the original. This was and I reckon still is terrific to dance to – feels like a 7. The original would clear the floor (’98 and now, if not 80-whatever ), giving everyone the chance to sit down, sip a drink, and think “so nice to hear the original words”

    I’m sort of surprised how late this was. If asked in a quiz I would have dated it much earlier. Don’t think that means anything – just my rubbish brane.

  9. 9
    weej on 5 May 2014 #

    Agreed with Tom’s review all the way up to the word ‘wrong’ – which I’d replace with ‘right’ – I suppose if I’d heard the original first there’s a chance I’d feel differently, but my main focus here is that house beat, and the rest is just there as garnish. That cinematic crash, the DHS-style chimes, the breaks and subtle transitions back into the beat – it sounds simple, sure, but in the best possible way – a throwback to acid house and 80s Hip Hop, and at the same time anticipating the mix of rap and EDM we can hear in the charts now. And, as Alan says at #8, this is terrific to dance to, even today. An 8 for me.

  10. 10
    Garry on 5 May 2014 #

    For me, it’s part of the add (or up the) beats and call it a remix brigade. Where once was b-sides, now there was this remix and that remix and the radio edit of the other remix and they were all far less interesting than the song. I reviewed a lot of singles with such things and didn’t like them.

    Plus, in 1998 we had a radio show – national commercial show which was sent to us a a non-commercial radio station – the show was called Party Hard, which was full of songs all inappropriately given the up the bpm and add beats treatments. I used to have to look after the station on a Saturday night when this went out, so I have a natural disinclination to like this track for the momories it brings back.

    Of course there are good remixes from this time – we’ve touched on Fatboy Slim’s Body Movin’, but I’ve always been a bit remix phobic.

    So I’m probably being unfair but it ain’t for me and doesn’t add enough to the original.

  11. 11
    thefatgit on 5 May 2014 #

    I quite like this. Yes, Jason Nevins clumsily takes out the nuanced verses, and leaves a series of disjointed soundbites, but in the context of its time, soundbites were all that mattered. But this is less about the message and more about the relentless beat. In your generic Yates’, this was a perfect soundtrack to excessive alcohol consumption. I don’t see this as a Run DMC record any more. It’s a Jason Nevins record that uses a helluva lot of Run DMC. Best played loud amongst a large number of people in a theme pub in a satellite town, far removed from the injustices of Queens N.Y. (7)

  12. 12
    anto on 5 May 2014 #

    Slightly surprised to see this only get a 5 – Not that I especially care for it, In fact after six weeks I just wanted it to go away not least because of Jason Nevin’s route one tactics. It also seemed like a real throwback but that’s a curious point. At the beginning of 1998 there was a ripple of discussion about how hip-hop and house had both reached the point where they now had a past and a legacy – Also the never ending eighties revival seemed to start around this time. The very name of the previous decade had been a pejorative for much of the nineties, but by 1998 nightclubs were putting on Club Tropicana nights and people were starting to reminisce about ‘The A-Team’, Nik Kershaw, ‘Smash hits’ yearbooks etc.

  13. 13
    mapman132 on 5 May 2014 #

    Every once in a while the international charts throw up a result that baffles me. I could see a late 90’s remix of an 80’s rap track being a passing novelty, maybe even grabbing #1 during a slow week. But six weeks? Keeping the Spice Girls out of #1?* Being a massive hit across Europe, as well as Australia and NZ, even hitting the Top 5 in Canada (according to Wikipedia at least)? So I guess Jason Nevins tapped into something somehow. So maybe the *real* question is why wasn’t this a hit in America? Two theories:

    1) Americans saw through the misappropriation of a rap about the harsh realities of the ghetto into a party track. Admittedly, I just came up with this while reading Tom’s review and don’t actually think this is likely. More likely is my original theory….

    2) The powers that be in American pop in the 90’s, i.e. Clear Channel and MTV, simply decided it wasn’t a hit. And therefore it wasn’t a hit. It was very hard to have a hit single in the pre-Youtube days without radio and/or video support, so if you didn’t have the right people on your side, you weren’t going to rise up the Hot 100, international success be damned. Fortunately this is far less true in the 2010’s as evidenced by multiple hits of the past few years. Three that come specifically to mind are bunnies from Australia, Korea, and New Zealand, all of which went viral on the Internet, then started gaining MP3 sales, and THEN radio finally noticed, with “M”TV of course being a complete non-entity in all this.

    Back to “It’s Like That”, I was even less in tune with 80’s rap than 90’s rap so I was only vaguely familiar with the original. In fact, it always seems to segue into Mariah Carey’s much later hit in my head. I was prepared to give it 5/10, but Tom makes some good points that cause me to knock it down further, so 4/10.

  14. 14
    mapman132 on 5 May 2014 #

    *Oops, forgot to complete my endnote from the last entry. Was going to say that the Girls probably deserved to have their winning streak end as “Stop” was quite mediocre when I listened to it the other night. That is all :)

  15. 15
    Tom on 5 May 2014 #

    “Stop” is the pastichi-est of their pastiche phase, but quite good for all that, partly because the Motown sound is such a solid basis for a pop record. I rate it higher than Spice Up Your Life, as far as upbeat second-phase tracks go.

    As for why it wasn’t a hit in America – I don’t think it’s a case of them being horrified at the outrage done to a classic*, I suspect you’re right that it wasn’t promoted, but WHY it wasn’t promoted is probably as simple as full-on pop house records not selling well in America. At the time this was #1 here, the US had “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” on top of the Billboard charts – the country had zero need to housify old records to make party rap. And the late-90s attempts to sell the Prodigy, the Chemical Brothers etc to America tended to involve a certain amount of “Do you remember Technotronic? WE ARE NOTHING LIKE THAT” rhetoric – the housier end of dance simply didn’t have much of a foothold in mainstream US pop at this point.

    *(BTW For readers worried or surprised at my rockist “it’s a blasphemy!” turn on Run V Jase, fear not – there are plenty of really crass boshing numbers coming up I like a lot better than this.)

  16. 16
    Cumbrian on 5 May 2014 #

    I am shamelessly going to steal something from a mate’s writing on Run DMC and include it here, as once he said it to me (and then wrote it down), I’ve not been able to shake it.

    “Chuck D once said that Run-DMC were “the Beatles of rap”. They’re actually more like “The Model T Ford of rap”. They weren’t the first of their kind, but they were the groundbreaking second stage of production. They were a strong leap forward from their predecessors, they made their previously niche industry accessible to millions, and they both sold something to a white audience that only came in black. Times have changed though, and while they were the best of their kind then, they’re clunky, slow, and out-of-demand now.”

    Personally, I like Model-T Fords (they have a classic look and you can learn things about cars and industry by studying how they came to be) and, similarly, I quite like Run-DMC – but I wouldn’t necessarily want to own and ride around in a Model-T Ford and a little Run-DMC goes a long way. The spareness of their (early) music is interesting to start with but it can get a bit samey after a while. It also leaves little to cover up potential flaws (Run-DMC trade off their lines between each other a lot: what’s up with this? Do they individually have the flow to be able to carry a song by themselves? It doesn’t sound like it). Put simply, I think the focus above on what Jason Nevins has done here obscures the fact that, though “It’s Like That” is a fine example of early 80s politically conscious rap, it’s probably not a fine example of rap overall and, if it were sequenced at the end of a Run-DMC Greatest Hits, I’d have less time for it (having heard many of the tricks a number of times in succession) than if it were sequenced at the start or is listened to in isolation. As it is, I did listen to this in isolation, and I still quite like it – but I can’t pretend that it’s wonderful, in either version.

  17. 17
    mapman132 on 5 May 2014 #

    #15 I suppose as good a theory as any other, although as we know Will Smith and other rappers had had hits in the UK before. In fact it appears GJWI was itself a #3 UK hit.

    Slightly different topic: Looking at the Wikipedia record and assuming it’s accurate, I’m surprised how few US Top 40 hits Run DMC had in their heyday: just three with “Walk This Way” being by far the biggest of course (#4). They had a bunch more hits on the R&B chart but few made the top 10, rap being somewhat alien even within that genre at the time.

  18. 18
    ciaran on 5 May 2014 #

    #15 – Not worried at all but very surprised for your indifference to ILT though.Our respective opinions differ greatly on this one. A 5 seems very harsh.Expected much higher.

    Will be interesting to get your thoughts on another ‘vs’ we’ll get to in the early 00’s.

    I had never heard of either Run DMC or the 1983 original before this came out so unlike some of ye I have more attachment to the remix. At 15 who had never heard of the group or witnessed breakdancing which showed up in the video it really packed a punch. Even hearing the original now the remix just seems so much more fulfilled.And that’s coming from someone who would’nt be rap music’s greatest follower who finds the remix world a bit tiresome .It’s lyrical content was on a whole other level to the Spices, Aqua, Oasis, et al.

    A lot more satisfying than most of what awaits us the rest of the year. 9

  19. 19
    hectorthebat on 5 May 2014 #

    Sample watch: Jason Nevins raided the Run-DMC back catalogue, featuring samples of “Jam Master Jay”, “Here We Go”, “Hit It Run”, and “Beats to the Rhyme”.

  20. 20
    Ed on 5 May 2014 #

    @15 “The housier end of dance simply didn’t have much of a foothold in mainstream US pop at this point.”

    Just a guess, but isn’t this still a legacy of “Disco sucks”, even two decades after Comiskey Park?

  21. 21
    Mark M on 5 May 2014 #

    Just horrible. Really horrible. 1 at best.

    But, I think I should say, I was not that hung up on the original – which I probably only knew in passing, and in conventional hip-hop is best known as the flip of of the none-more-minimal and brutal Sucker MCs, which is considered the track that (as others have said above) launched the first of the new schools, paving the way for LL and BDP and all the rest. So it’s not that track in particular I feel has been violated – it could have been any hip-hop track from the time and I’m sure I would have reacted the same way.

    On the subject of Run DMC, it’s worth remembering how fast hip-hop once moved: by the time I saw them live – supported by Public Enemy and Derek B – in late 1988, it already felt like paying homage to pioneers whose time had already clearly passed.

  22. 22
    lonepilgrim on 5 May 2014 #

    I must have listened to this on my TV or a particularly poor car radio at the time as it wasn’t until I just listened to this again that I realised how unpleasant the jack-hammer rhythm is. You can just about hear the original rap and beats buried underneath and that is the best part of the record.

  23. 23
    Billy Hicks on 5 May 2014 #

    The US’s backlash of dance music didn’t properly get solved until they gave it the new trendy name of ‘EDM’ and got all the R&B stars on board, but more on that when we get to 2009 and beyond. Ask the likes of Usher, Flo Rida etc to make “dance music” and they’ll think of either Europop or disco, whereas ask them to make an ‘EDM’ track and they’ll make a whole album’s worth. I recall reading an interview with Flo shortly after a bunnied #1 from 20 years later where he was asked “How does it feel to have covered a gay anthem from the 1980s?” After a brief silence, Flo changed the subject.

    For such a huge and long-lasting #1 I don’t really have much memories of this from the time, but I did get into it fairly massively in the mid-noughties when it still sounded pretty current. Entertaining if nothing incredible but definitely worth at least a six.

  24. 24
    Chelovek na lune on 5 May 2014 #

    This makes me think of the renovation of the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, (or, alternatively, an excessive and inappropriate application of make-up): most of the old structure remains, and has been given an obvious sheen and gloss to make it appeal to those who otherwise might have been (and probably were) intimidated by the bare concrete brutalism of old. And in many ways that is for the good – Nevins certainly “sexes up” the original, and in so doing introduced the track to a mass audience that had previously been ignorant of it, or indeed, I think also its performers (it having been 10 years since their last top 40 hit, a solitary one week in the low 30s with “Run’s House”). This sexing up was however at the expense of both the subtlety and message of the original: in the Brunswick Centre sense, it’s nice there’s a Waitrose there now: just a pity those living in the council flats upstairs can’t afford to shop there, while the character of the cheap Italian pizzeria has been lost as the chains have moved in in full-on generic gentrifying effect.

    I can’t really bring myself to either hate or love this (although that may perhaps be in part because I didn’t know the original, either)- it’s just there, slightly annoying, but still with some substance – and real mid-80s groundbreaking hip hop fell underneath the sheen. Somewhat inexplicable that it spent six weeks at number one, though.

  25. 25
    Mark M on 5 May 2014 #

    Re24: The Brunswick was always meant to be white and mixed residency, you know: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2006/oct/23/architecture.communities

  26. 26
    mapman132 on 6 May 2014 #

    #20, 23: Funny thing about the whole ‘disco sucks’ mentality, not to mention the expression ‘deader than disco’, is that 70’s era dance music proved fairly popular in the US once the usual 20-year retro cycle came around, which come to think of it, was around 1998. But it’s true that this didn’t seem to influence the US pop charts much until about 2009.

  27. 27
    Rory on 6 May 2014 #

    Looking back and looking ahead, this is the end of a rich few years of Popular number ones for yours truly, and the beginning of a far less familiar time: for some years that lie ahead I know maybe a dozen of the number ones, for others four or five, and for a few of them only one. And that’s just whether I’ve heard them, not whether I like them. I’ll have to find some creative ways to preface every comment with “I’ve never heard this before”, or I’m going to sound as monotonous as a House Washing Machine.

    Not that I mind said washing machine in this case. I’d never heard this before (ahem), but I’d also never heard the original, so am not wedded to the spare ’80s sound of the Run-DMC version. This sounds fine to me – danceable beats, good vocal hooks, and a fun video. I wouldn’t have expected a six-week run at number one – more like the single week it had at the top in Australia in March ’98, before “Never Ever” racked up seven – but it’s entertained me for the past day or two. I’d go a 6.

    Swanstep, I turned up an extended mix. Not sure the extra minutes deliver what you’re after, though.

    Tom, the “Run DMC and Jam Master Jay!” interjections towards the end – are they actually sped-up, or is it a female vocalist recorded for this track, or a sample from somewhere else?

  28. 28
    Kinitawowi on 6 May 2014 #

    #27: I get that feeling eventually, but fortunately I still have some recollection of the number ones all the way up to Christmas 2009; after that it all gets a bit “was *that* a number one?”.

  29. 29
    hectorthebat on 6 May 2014 #

    #27 It’s a sped up version of 1:50 here? http://youtu.be/TP8zFBryUqU?t=1m50s

  30. 30
    Rory on 6 May 2014 #

    #29: Ah right, thanks. Showing my hip-hop ignorance there. The speeding up fits with the video well, because it sounds like the girls’ team chiming in. That’s what made me wonder if it was recorded for this track, with “Jam Master Jay” meaning Jam Master Jason Nevins. I can see now how that could annoy those who know who the real Jam Master Jay was, hearing Nevins appropriate a shout-out to him. Presumably it didn’t annoy Run or DMC, though, who did the initial shouting out. Or Jam Master Jay (Mizell), who was still alive in 1998. Maybe it didn’t register as appropriation? Maybe the fact that he was still alive meant that hip-hop fans heard the sped-up sample as a shout-out to Mizell, while listeners ignorant of rap history (like me!) heard it as a reference to “Run-DMC vs Jason Nevins”.

  31. 31
    Alex on 9 May 2014 #

    My hip-hop obsessed skater mates appreciated it, and I think whatever it loses on credibility it makes up for with fun. (I mean, if you’re going to moan about authenticity, the whole premise of this project goes down the toilet and you can join me in shameless elitism.)

  32. 32
    S. Braun on 26 May 2014 #

    You all are fucked. The song is a hit. Plain and simple. All of you that dig deep into the record have no clue. It’s just pure fun, nothing more. All you Run Dmc fans bash on it but it sold millions of copies and was #1 on the pop chart in about 30 countries. The song is still played today. Most people don’t even know the original from 1998. Give Nevins his props for digging the original and group out of graveyard. They made millions on what Nevins brought to the table. You people are really clueless and are looking too deeply into the meaning of why it was done. I was there and I know first hand.

  33. 33
    punctum on 26 May 2014 #

    Didn’t bother listening to the lyrics, though, did you? “Pure fun”? Sorry, but “I was there” isn’t good enough in this post-LCD Soundsystem age.

  34. 34
    James BC on 27 May 2014 #

    For me the rhyme scheme and delivery are so old-school hip hop that in the remix, as heard in 1998, the meaning and social commentary get lost – the only thing that comes across is “here is some old-school hip hop rapping”. So I can see how the track can have those lyrics and still be “pure fun”.

  35. 35
    Mark G on 27 May 2014 #

    I disagree.

  36. 36
    Gareth Parker on 1 Jun 2021 #

    This is much closer to “pure fun” than your comment at#33! A 6/10 for this would be my score.

  37. 37
    Mr Tinkertrain on 11 Apr 2022 #

    Another one here who had never heard the original (or of Run DMC) when this came out – indeed it was a decade or two before I came across the 1983 version. And that one sounds a bit flat to my ears; I much prefer this. It is an odd track to be number 1 for so long though; you’d have thought My Heart Will Go On would be more likely to achieve that. 8/10 from me. At the time, frankly, I was just happy that someone broke the Spice Girls’ winning streak as (like a lot of people) I was getting sick of them by this stage.

    In retrospect this was a strong run of number 1s – fourth in a row that I’ve given 8 or more to. I don’t think it lasts much longer though…

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