But the group's embrace of positivity, party rhymes, and upbeat musicality fell out of place with the onset of the gangsta rap era. In the '90s Run-D.M.C. made several changes, both musical and religious. The last two albums struggled for a cohesive identity while both rappers became devout Christians. (Simmons is now also known as Reverend Run.) Don't expect conversions -- of the religious persuasion anyway -- when Run-D.M.C. play the Bay Area for the first time in five years. Step into the old Adidas and step out to witness the old-school rhymes of the only rappers ambitious enough to proclaim themselves the Kings of Rock.
-- Robert Arriaga
Run-D.M.C. perform Thursday July 9, at 8 p.m. at Cafe Echelon, 2203 Mariner Square Loop in Alameda. Tickets are $10; call (510) 337-1011.