Run the Jewels are a super-duo consisting of Killer Mike & El-P. They first crossed paths with each other in 2012 when the latter produced Mike’s 5th album R.A.P. (Rebellious African People) Music in it’s entirety, but came together officially the following year with a self-titled debut. Their sophomore album in 2014 is my personal favorite though, as it’s a lot darker. Last we heard from Mike & El-Producto together in a full-length capacity was in 2016 with their much more political 3rd album but in classic Run the Jewels fashion, they’re releasing their long awaited 4th album a couple days early.
Things kick off with “yankee & the brave (ep. 4)”, where the duo display their chemistry over an abstract chaotic instrumental. The next song “ooh la la” with Greg Nice sees the 3 talking about over a piano-inflicted boom bap beat while the track “out of sight” with 2 Chainz talks about being menaces over a vintage rap rock instrumental. The song “holy calamafuck” is a dark shit-talking anthem with a phenomenal beat switch about halfway through while the track “goonies vs. E.T.” talks about having another chance over an abrasive instrumental.
The song “walking in the snow” is pretty much a well-timed response George Floyd’s recent murder over a dynamic instrumental while the track “JU$T” with Zack de la Rocha of course talks about the industry over a Neptunes-influenced beat which is fitting because Pharrell kills it with his additional vocals. The song “never look back” talks about moving on from the past over a futuristic instrumental while “the ground below” talks about how love never meant much to them backed by an amazing sample of “Ether” by Gang of 4. The penultimate song “pulling the pin” cleverly uses grenades as a metaphor for their hearts over an instrumental with a cavernous instrumental with phenomenal guitar playing from Josh Homme & then the album finishes off with “a few words for the firing squad (radiation)”, where Killer Mike & El-P make an epic dedication to those whose voices were never heard over a more minimalist instrumental.
These guys now have 4 consecutive classics together, because this did not disappoint me at all. I love how they took all the elements of their first 3 albums & fused them all together into 1 near-perfect 39 minute album. The production is off the wall, their chemistry is unmatched at this point & the political commentary is perfect for everything that’s going in the world right now.