Protest 100: Run-DMC – ‘It’s Like That’

P100 – It’s Like That

Artist:          Run-DMC

Song:           It’s Like That

Album:        Run-DMC (1984)

Producer:    Russell Simmons, Larry Smith

Label:          Profile

Year:           1983

Notes:
This one goes back almost to the beginning, and it let people know in no uncertain terms that hip-hop was going to be as much about teaching as jiving. The song catalogs society’s woes, but also exhorts the listener to not give up, to pursue knowledge, and to never feel like they’re alone in the search for meaning. The Lord even gets a shout out, and we a reminder that prince or pauper, black or white, our fate is the same.

Run (Joseph Simmons) is now a reverend. From NPR in 2012: “When I started going to church I started to feel better. Things were starting to look brighter for me. I started to see that learning the principles of God was helping to shape my life better.”

The song was released as a cassette single with ‘Sucker M.C.s’ in 1983 and appeared the next year on the group’s debut album.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“It’s not wrapped clean sir. It’s layered, twisted.”

Lyrics
[Run]
Unemployment at a record high
People coming, people going, people born to die
Don’t ask me, because I don’t know why
But it’s like that, and that’s the way it is

[D.M.C.]
People in the world tryin to make ends meet
You try to ride car, train, bus, or feet
I said you got to work hard, you want to compete
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Huh!

[Run & D.M.C. alternate lines for the remainder of the song]
Money is the key to end all your woes
Your ups, your downs, your highs and your lows
Won’t you tell me the last time that love bought you clothes?
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Bills rise higher every day
We receive much lower pay
I’d rather stay young, go out and play
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Huh!

Wars going on across the sea
Street soldiers killing the elderly
Whatever happened to unity?
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Disillusion is the word
That’s used by me when I’m not heard
I just go through life with my glasses blurred
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Huh!

You can see a lot in this lifespan
Like a bum eating out of a garbage can
You noticed one time he was your man
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

You should have gone to school, you could’ve learned a trade
But you laid in the bed where the bums have laid
Now all the time you’re crying that you’re underpaid
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Huh!

One thing I know is that life is short
So listen up homeboy, give this a thought
The next time someone’s teaching why don’t you get taught?
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is

If you really think about it times aren’t that bad
The one that flexes with successes will make you glad
Stop playing start praying, you won’t be sad
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Huh!

When you feel you fail sometimes it hurts
For a meaning in life is why you search
Take the bus or the train, drive to school or the church
It’s like that, and that’s the way it is

Here’s another point in life you should not miss
Do not be a fool who’s prejudiced
Because we’re all written down on the same list
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is
Huh!

You know it’s like that, and that’s the way it is
Because it’s like that, and that’s the way it is

(Repeat these lines til fade)

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

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