"It's Like That" is a song by American hip hop group Run–D.M.C. It was first released in 1983 on a cassette backed with the track "Sucker M.C.'s". The release marked the start of Run-D.M.C.'s career and is widely regarded as ushering in a new school of hip hop artists with a street image and an abrasive, minimalist sound that marked them out from their predecessors. Both tracks were collected on the trio's eponymous debut album in 1984. "It's like That" is about life in the area where the group lives (unemployment, prices, death, etc.). Despite protesting those social and political problems, the song takes on a hopeful message encouraging listeners to abandon prejudice and to believe in themselves.
In 2008, it was ranked number 40 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.
- 2 Chart positions
- 3 Jason Nevins version
- 4 Popular culture
- 5 References
In the re-release of the album in 2003, a booklet was included, and a reviewer, Angus Batey, wrote the background information about the album. When he wrote about "It's like That", he quoted:
[Larry] Smith had created one particularly stark backing track that would provide a perfect setting for rap. He was aware of Run's prowess as a writer, having previously paid the teenager $100 for a set of lyrics with the intention of [Kurtis Blow] recording them. One evening, in Smith's home studio in Queens, Run and D persuaded Larry and Russell [Simmons] to let them have a chance to make a demo. Russell agreed; taking Run's $100 rap and extensive additional lines penned by the prolific DMC, Russell doled it out line by line between the two vocalists, who sprayed their lyrics over the stark beat onto tape. 'It's Like That' became the band's debut single, stridently announcing that a new era began.
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In 1997, a new version by DJ Jason Nevins was released. The remix topped the charts in many countries, including the United Kingdom, where it stayed at the summit for six weeks and became Britain's third biggest-selling single of 1998. Elsewhere, it also topped the chart in Australia, where it remains their only top five hit there. The music video for the remix featured a male and a female breakdance crew battling each other in a breakdance battle in which the females ultimately win. Vanness Wu was one of the boys in this music video. It is interesting to note the similarities in choreography and theme when comparing the Run–D.M.C. video of "It's Like That" with the video by Shannon and her hit single, "Let the Music Play" (also released in 1983), an example of which can be found on YouTube here.
In the United Kingdom, Nevin's remix gained notoriety for breaking the Spice Girls' run of consecutive number one hits on the UK Singles Chart, keeping their song "Stop" from claiming the top spot.
The song was featured in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and Scarface: The World Is Yours. The Jason Nevins Remix is featured as a playable track in SingStar Dance for the PlayStation Move. The remix was also featured in a Fanta commercial where people and objects bounce around by drinking the soda given by a DJ while the song plays.