After releasing their self titled debut last year that sent shockwaves through the hip hop community, Killer Mike and El-P are at it again. Not to take anything away from their previous offering, but this sequel doesn’t just equal its predecessor, but exceeds it by miles. This album makes a loud statement that Run the Jewels are a force to be reckoned with. They may be an unlikely pairing but they deserve every bit of recognition thrown their way due to their consistency in the studio.
The chemistry between the two is unparalleled. Their stark contrasts make for an interesting combination, Mike’s Southern drawl compliments El-P’s rugged rhyming and production perfectly. Both hold their own in terms of writing and delivery, as they both constantly try to match each other’s verses and raise the bar higher each time. The competitive undertones are never more present than on the Travis Barker-assisted ‘All Due Respect’, in which both emcees evoke awe in their ability to rattle off verses like no other.
The lyrics deal with several subjects including politics, women, and music, among others. Perhaps the most topical is the revolutionary ‘Close Your Eyes and Count to Fuck’, which proves that even though it has been a while since Rage Against The Machine’s height of fame, Zack De La Rocha is still able to hold his own with two of the best lyricists around. Their ability to inject some tongue in cheek humour serves in creating several memorable one liners that will put a smile on the face of most listeners, something that has been missing in rap music for quite a while.
El-P shows the world on RTJ2 that he is in a league of his own in terms of production. He utilises the same sound that many hip hop producers try to emulate while remaining unique enough to give each track its own individual identity. ‘Blockbuster Night Pt 1’ & ‘Love Again’ emit such a massive sound that sure to be shaking speakers all over Europe on their upcoming tour.
Several times throughout, both artists express their distaste with feeling underappreciated. With RTJ2, they have created the most compelling rap album of the year so far, that is sure to propel them to their desired and well deserved heights of fame. Their claim that they are the “top tag team for two summers” couldn’t be more accurate. It looks like Kanye and Jay Z are going to have to work pretty damn hard to reclaim that throne of theirs. Now about those cat sounds…
Run The Jewels play Opium Rooms, Dublin on December 21st. Support comes from God Knows & Mynameisjohn, tickets €18.