For a short while there, I thought these guys were the coolest motherfuckers around. In the mid-80s, critical consensus wasn't afraid to describe them as 'the future'. The marketing genius of Def Jam and/or Rush Artists Management knew the value of a grinding riff; to shove that previously-dissed 'fad' onto MTV and the front pages of the music press. I've left the obvious choice off this post (surely we got sick of hearing it at the 100th student disco?). Lest we forget 'Rock Box' posed a serious challenge to 'The Message' as the first and last word in hiphop (the aging hippies/thrusting yuppies at Rolling Stone certainly paid attention). The racial politics of riff-value are beyond my caffeine-addled comprehension right now, but the below tracks had a lot more riff/solo moxie than so much poodle metal of the time. Not only a producer with the golden touch, Rick Rubin was a damn fine axeman. Although pricking the ears of white America to open its wallet, the rock metal crossover was (thankfully) the road less travelled. But late 80s hiphop always supplied something bigger and deffer to make sucker MCs of last month's kings (its continuous discordinant shifts a suitable soundtrack for the growing pains of 80s adolescence). With the arrival of Schoolly-D, Public Enemy, NWA, etc. RUN-DMC's star faded fast: Now familiar to teens as reality TV fodder, if at all. But in terms of establishing hiphop as an album genre, as an international top ten staple - they were the Kings of Rock. They certainly made the summer of '86 more fun for yours truly.