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Album Review

Kicking off his solo career with a bang, Rev Run brings the vintage Run-D.M.C. attack-rhyming while unknown producer Whiteboy rocks the house mash-up style on the fantastic but frustratingly short Distortion. Calling Distortion an "album" — which the Rev himself has in pre-release press — is a stretch. The 26-minute run time feels like a cheat, but with most of the competition wearing out their welcome with overstuffed, hour-plus albums that beg to be edited with the remote, Distortion is a rare, tight listen that demands to be swallowed whole. Hearing Run brag it like before and lay down the snide putdowns is exciting, but most thrilling is hearing him in the challenging yet slick atmosphere Whiteboy creates. Sampling "Sweet Home Alabama" for "Home Sweet Home" is clever, but looping the stomp of Kiss' "God of Thunder," cutting Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N' Roll" into a razor-sharp loop, and lifting a part of Blondie's "Rapture" that you'd never thought would be lifted is how he goes from nobody to the next underground, mash-up idol à la Diplo. Half of the reason to love him is that despite his ability to create jaw-droppingly smart and fun loops, he's a very intuitive producer and knows when to unclutter everything and let the Rev through. "I Used to Think I Was Run" is the man's shining moment lyrically, with bittersweet quotes from the old days rubbing shoulders with totally aware and sharp lines that explore life as "your momma's favorite rapper." It's a young man's business, but few of the young bucks would try something as risky as the mocking and bouncy "High and Mighty Joe" or the crunching title track, which reminds everyone Body Count had the best blueprint for rap-metal. Being chaotic and hanging onto the edge with its fingernails is the thrill of Distortion, and while this wild ride could be exhausting if it ran on too much longer, the skimpy run time is noticeable and downright perplexing coming from an album that ambitiously delivers otherwise.

Customer Reviews

one night stand

I was very pumped about the Rev Run's newest album. So excited that I bought the whole album...only to feel like I was cheated out of my money because the average song is just over 2 minutes and there is not much content at all. The only exception is Mind On The Road...which is better than average. Overall, your better off spending your money on Run DMC's greatest hits.

Your Momma's Favorite Rapper

You will never be able to discuss rap without bringing up Run-DMC. With help from Rick Rubin, their rap-rock infusion brought hip-hop to the suburbs and could be named the first of almost any rap category. And even though many rappers are unable to find a second hit and sink into obscurity, Run-DMC was pumping out club bangers for over a decade. Sadly the group dissolved after the death of Jam Master J knowing that it wouldn’t be the same without Jay behind the turntables. Now Run is back with his first solo album Distortion and a new moniker, Rev. And unlike every single rap album released over the past decade, there is no “featuring” after any song as it is just Rev Run, his mike, and a boat load of samples. The best sample is the Joan Jett guitars from I Love Rock and Roll and scream from Mind of the Road. The song and Run’s rapping are so perfectly interchanged that even the best mash-up artist couldn’t have done better. The other samples don’t quite knock the same punch though. Take a Tour takes from a Blondie song, but hearing Run with a girl singing the hook just sounds out of place. Even more out of place is the Lynyrd Skynyrd sample of Home Sweet Alabama. The song is a tribute to Jay but both are from Queens, no where near Alabama. Also throughout the album, there are samples hear and there from different Run-DMC classics.

It don't get any better than this

Let us not forget that the Rev is 40 years old, he has been in the game for close to 20 years. This is what hip hop is all about. All you youngsters need to study up on what REAL hip hop is. Run IS hip hop. If your into slow songs with a weak chorus, and commercially watered down "Rap Music" then look elsewhere. If you grew up with Run, Beastie Boys, Biz, KRS, EPMD, LL, etc. etc...then you will enjoy this album. RIP JMJ.

Distortion, Reverend Run
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings