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Run DMC - Crown Royal Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 April 2001


Crown Royal
format: CD
label: BMG/Arista Records
release year: 2001
performance: 8
sound 8
reviewed by: Brian Kahn

ImageCrown Royal is the highly anticipated latest release from Run D.M.C., whose fans have been waiting eight years since the band’s last release. This album is packed with good, strong tracks, featuring numerous guest artists. This hard-rocking group was easily able to adapt their sound to the new millennium while avoiding the current trend to fill an album with interludes, sketches and other filler. Run D.M.C. remains old school, infusing the album with rock-hued hip-hop.

The album opens with a slick track, "It’s Over," featuring Jermaine Dupree, then moves into a funky groove, "Queen’s Day," featuring NAS and Prodigy of Mobb Deep. Santana must have consulted with Run D.M.C. about getting current pop stars to lend their talents to their record. Rap has changed drastically since Run D.M.C. were the reigning kings, but they still have the clout to get some big names on the record. The title track, the only one without a guest artist, is followed by "Them Girls," featuring Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. "Them Girls" has been quite successful commercially and is currently receiving lots of airplay. The album continues with tracks featuring Kid Rock, Stephen Jenkins, Chris Davis, Sugar Ray, Fat Joe and more. The album even contains a cover of the Steve Miller Band’s "Take the Money and Run," with guest Everlast.

The album, while solidly hip-hop, is also very diverse due at least in part to its inclusion of so many guest artists. Each track with a guest artist takes on some of the traits of that guest’s signature sound while remaining rooted in Run D.M.C.’s hip-hop style. This gives the album a great range of styles all tied together with a common thread. Method Man is the guest artist on the closing track, "Simmons Incorporated," which ends the album strongly. This is a reference to mogul Russell Simmons, who co-founded Def Jam records with Rick Rubin and brought RUN D.M.C. to the attention of the world, along with LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.

As diverse and jamming as the music is, Crown Royal does not completely satisfy. Sonically, Crown Royal just doesn’t sound as good as I would have expected from these rap veterans. Even at high volume, it doesn’t explode out of my system in the way I had hoped it would.

Crown Royal demonstrates that Run D.M.C., after eight years of absence, has been able to adapt to the times without losing any of what made them powerful in the first place. Run D.M.C. fans are sure to be pleased with this album. Listeners who may have missed Run D.M.C. the first time around are likely to become fans after tuning in to this album to hear a current favorite’s guest track. A big welcome back to the band – just don’t keep us waiting another eight years for the next release.

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