In 1993, Pete Rock & CL Smooth Helped Run-D.M.C. Reclaim the Throne (Video)

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In the early ’90s, Run-D.M.C. was experiencing a relative lull in their career after the lackluster success of the singles from the group’s 1990 LP Back From Hell. However in 1993, the Queens, New York trio landed its highest-charting single since 1986’s “Walk This Way” in the form of “Down With the King.” It was the second single from the group’s sixth album of the same name and it featured Pete Rock production and a guest verse from CL Smooth.

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The LP (which also featured EPMD, Q-Tip, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello) performed far better than its predecessor and enjoyed the peak position of number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Led by the Bomb Squad-produced single “Ooh, Whatcha Gonna Do,” Down With the King would prove to be the group’s final LP of new music of the millennium, and 2001’s Crown Royal remains Run-D.M.C.’s most recent studio album. As such, it served as a bookend to the group’s glory days as well as an introduction to a chapter of their pursuits as individuals. Creative frustrations and personal differences between Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and Joseph “Run” Simmons would eventually lead to sparse contributions from McDaniels on Crown Royal, giving Down With the King the quality of feeling like Run-D.M.C.’s “real” final album in the minds of many. With the gut-wrenching loss of Jam Master Jay in 2002, dreams of future reunions were permanently destroyed, and thus “Down With the King” has proven to be one of the final times all three members appeared in a video together.

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23 years since the release of Down With the King, Run-D.M.C. continue to make Hip-Hop history as the first Rap artists to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.