It's Like That

Album: Run-D.M.C. (1983)
Charted: 1


  • Released on March 12, 1983, "It's Like That" was Run–D.M.C.'s first single. It became a club favorite along with its popular B-side, "Sucker M.C.'s."

    The song was written by the group's rappers, Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darry "D.M.C." McDaniels, and their producer, Larry Smith. There are no samples on the track, which was programmed on a Oberheim DMX synthesizer with vocal punctuations mixed in. It was Simmons who came up with the idea for the song after studying Kurtis Blow and getting encouragement from his older brother Russell (Blow's manager), who encouraged him to tell stories in his raps and give them a wide appeal through universal themes. "I thought I'd just tell people what the world is like, and how to improve themselves," said Run. "This was the seed idea for 'It's Like That.'"
  • This was the song that convinced Russell Simmons to work with the group. His younger brother Joseph (Run) had been pestering him for a while, but Russell insisted he finish high school before making a record. Run and D.M.C., who hadn't yet teamed up with Jam Master Jay, worked to together on "It's Like That," with D.M.C. adding some lyrics and hooks to Run's song. The pair graduated high school and went to separate colleges: Run to LaGuardia Community College (studying mortuary science) and D.M.C. to St. John's University. Teaming up with Jam Master Jay, they recorded this song with Russell's Rush Productions, getting lots of help from Rush's musical director Larry Smith. Russell was so impressed with the track that he sent them on his Fresh Fest tour with Newcleus and Whodini, and helped them record their debut album
  • In 1998, house music producer Jason Nevins remixed this, and the new version became the most successful rap single in the UK, spending six weeks at #1 and topping the charts in 30 other countries including Germany. Nevins received a standard fee of $5000 for his efforts.
  • When this reached #1, Run DMC became the first band to wait for over 10 years between their first hit ("Walk This Way" in 1986) and their first chart topper in the UK.

Comments: 4

  • Markantney from Biloxi, MsJul 2014, This was a Mega (R&B) Club hit back in 83-84. I think it had like 3 versions of the song, maybe more? But definitely a 12", Instrumental, and the Album Version, all were played in "Da Clubs".
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesPart of the reason why the 1998 remake of this song sold so well outside of the US having failed to chart elsewhere in 1984 was because it made headlines in the UK when it went to #1, largely due to the fact that it halted the Spice Girls (then a record) run of six consecutive #1s with their first six singles, "It's Like That" having held the Spice Girls' seventh release "Stop!" at #2. The UK music press had a field day at the expense of their most successful girl-band, and "It's Like That" remained at the top for six weeks and was the second-biggest selling UK singles chart release of 1998
  • Nathan from From The Country Of, Canadaa great 80's rap song, breakdancing beat, and a hell of a life-lesson song for the kids.
  • Marlow from Perthi never knew this was released b4 1998... well what do u know?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Rock Revenge Songs

Rock Revenge SongsMusic Quiz

John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of the artists who have written revenge songs. Do you know who they wrote them about?

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up Musicians

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.