Test Gallery by Kirk
“Sucker MC’s” was what we used to call a beat jam. Most of the MC’s who had started making records were not doing hip-hop the same way when they were at the parks, at the battles and at the block parties. Up to this point rappers were just taking the popular disco or R&B song and rhyming over it so that they could get that attention. So me and Run thought, ‘Yo, nobody is doing hip-hop the way they used to on those Cold Crush Brothers tapes. Whatever happened to those straight up beat jams where MC’s would just rhyme?’ That’s why we didn’t think ‘Sucker MC’s’ was going to be so groundbreaking, but it was. And that’s because we took it back to the essence of Grandmaster Flash DJing and the Furious Five rhyming in the park, which is what first made hip-hop so attractive.
Run had already had his first three verses for ‘Sucker MC’s’ written. But originally I wasn’t even going to be in the group. Russell [Simmons] (Older brother of Joseph “Run” Simmons, manager of Run-D.M.C. and the legendary founder of Def Jam Records) knew I was a great writer and a great critic because I had every tape from A to Z. I could recite everybody’s lyrics and I could write my own lyrics, even though as a kid I was scared to perform in front of people. So Run tells Russell, ‘Yo, when I make this record I want D in the group.’ And Russell is like, ‘Hell no…he ain’t no performer…he ain’t no MC.’ Eventually, he let me record ‘It’s Like That’ and ‘Sucker MC’s’ with Run. But truth be told, y’all were going to see Run onstage without me. We did ‘It’s Like That’ because ‘The Message’ and ‘Planet Rock’ were popular.
When Melle Mel and Flash did the ‘The Message,’ you had a million ‘Message’ records come out. Everything became about the ghetto because ‘The Message’ worked. And then after that, Afrika Bambaatta says, ‘Okay, it’s messed up in the ghetto, but we can still do a record about how we can transform ourselves and change the world and make our lives better.’ And that’s what you heard on ‘Planet Rock.’ So me and Run said, ‘Okay, we’ll do a commercial single.’ But we made sure ‘It’s Like That’ combined those two messages. We’re telling Larry, ‘Don’t put no funk on this…With all due respect Larry, ‘It’s Like That’ doesn’t need a bass solo [laughs]. The rest is history.”