Arista - 2001 - 49 minutes

Run DMC deserve respect for taking hip-hop out of the ghetto and into the mainstream. They were the first MCs to break into the white charts, paving the way for the success of Def Jam label mates the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.

The band's finest moment was their inspired collaboration with Aerosmith on 'Walk This Way' and on their new album, they show that haven't managed to shake their rockist tendencies. Unfortunately, Crown Royal is over-reliant on guest appearances from record company favourites like Everlast and Kid Rock. The result is completely devoid of any character, other than the pedestrian lyrical flows of the twin MCs.

The album sounds like it was put together using focus groups. There's a Latino vibe on 'Ay Papi', thug rhymes on 'Queen's Day', nasty nu-metal on 'The School Of Old', folk-rock on 'Take The Money And Run'. Occasionally a catchy moment flickers, but none of the songs really convince. Their ham fisted version of Al Green's sublime 'Let's Stay Together' is a low point: the syrupy backing vocals, a sub-Timbaland electro beat and brain-dead rhymes combine, horribly. The result is vile; as saccharin as a Puff Daddy production, and just as cynical.

It would be nice to report that Crown Royal will propel Run DMC back in to the big time, but my advice is to walk the other way. Or better still, run.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: It's Over - Queens Day - Crown Royal - Them Girls - The School Of Old - Take The Money And Run - Rock Show - Here We Go 2001 - Ahhh - Lets Stay Together (Together Forever) - Ay Papi - Simmons Incorporated