Run–DMC – “It’s Tricky” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Run–DMC’s “It’s Tricky” is a blast from the hip-hop world of the 1980s. This catchy tune is about the complexities of fame, the art of rapping, and navigating tricky situations. The song focuses on the skill required to “rock a rhyme that’s right on time,” while dealing with the downsides of celebrity—constant attention, misunderstandings, and tricky personal dynamics. It’s not just about tricky rhymes; it’s about the trickiness of life itself.

Tempted to know how this 80s hip-hop hit still connects with us today? Stick around as we unravel the layers and decode the timeless message of “It’s Tricky.”

“It’s Tricky” Lyrics Meaning

The song starts off with “This speech is my recital, I think it’s very vital,” setting the stage for something crucial. They’re saying, hey, listen up, this matters. We’re in for some lyrical mastery that’s more than just words—it’s a life lesson.

“To rock a rhyme, that’s right on time, It’s Tricky…” These lines are the soul of the song. Run–DMC is emphasizing that timing and skill are key, both in rap and life. In a way, they’re giving us a window into their own world where they have to navigate the trickiness of fame, all while delivering slick lines.

The lines “I met this little girlie, her hair was kinda curly” dive into the personal toll of fame. Women, fans, and even ‘a girl named Carol’ who follows them, all seem to want a piece of their fame. It’s not as fun as it looks. It’s, well, tricky.

“In New York the people talk and try to make us rhyme. They really (hawk) but we just (walk) because we have no time.” These lines capture how even in their hometown, the demand and expectations are high. And the duo doesn’t always have the time or interest to meet these expectations, leading them to reject drugs and negative influences.

“When I wake up people take up mostly all of my time. I’m not singin’, phone keep ringin’ cos I make up a rhyme.” Fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Run–DMC make it clear that their life is not all about the glitz and glamour, but also about the drain on their time and personal space.

“We are not thugs (we don’t use drugs) but you assume (on your own).” Here, the group challenges stereotypes, making it clear they aren’t part of the negative aspects that people often associate with rap and hip-hop culture. It’s another layer to the ‘tricky’ life they lead—having to constantly clarify who they are versus what people assume.

The Story Behind “It’s Tricky”

When Run–DMC wrote “It’s Tricky,” they were already icons in the making. But fame has its price. The song is a snapshot of a point in their lives where they were grappling with their newfound stardom. It’s not just an anthem for those trying to navigate the art of rapping, but also for anyone dealing with the complexities of success and public perception.

Run–DMC was writing from a state of emotional overload. They were young artists at the pinnacle of their career, juggling various responsibilities, and expectations from people around them. As they once described in interviews, “It’s Tricky” is their way of saying that life is full of challenges that require both skill and timing to navigate.

They took their real experiences, the ups and downs of their lives, and turned them into a timeless piece that still resonates today. And that’s the genius of “It’s Tricky.” It captures the human experience—whether you’re a rap legend or just someone trying to get by, life is tricky. And that’s a message that never gets old.