Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels


5.0
classic

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
July 1st, 2013 | 1524 replies | 102,286 views


Release Date: 06/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Long Live El-Peezus

Unintentionally (or not - who knows), Run The Jewels is a profound counterpoint to Kanye West's recent attempt at popularizing all that producer El-P has represented, created, and progressed for over more than a decade. Sputnikmusic's Channing Freeman observed that Yeezus was rushed at the very least; at its worst it poses as a haphazard, sophomoric attempt at electronic-come-experimental hip-hop. Kanye's unclear intent more-so aligns with economic and popular culture goals, whereas Killer Mike and El-P's second formal collaboration lives and breathes this very culture he tries to popularize. And it's fucking free.

Run The Jewels is no exception to the group's preexisting cannon of groundbreaking releases. Last year, Killer Mike released RAP Music; coupled with El-P's electronic-infused take on southern production, it redefined the genre's very envelope and expectations for the still young decade. Subsequently El-P released his third solo record with Cancer 4 Cure - a discussion on existence, pulsating with varied amounts of pain, love, sorrow, and acceptance. Two of the year's most unique musical statements came within one month of each other, effectively pushing the regional boundaries rap fans have been known to identify with since its inception. While Run The Jewels may not make the very same statements as its immediate predecessors, it effectively (and nonchalantly) combines the ambition of both records into something completely new and engaging with equal parts Atlanta rap, syncopated boom bap, and El-P's trademark synth driven sci-fi soundscapes.

Unlike a majority of rap records, some of the best works on both releases last year were the group joints. The passion that each artist put in, from Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire to Danny Brown on "Oh Hail No" to even Mike and El themselves on "Tougher Colder Killer" or "Butane" was fully evident. Pre-release single "Banana Clipper" (seriously, Big Boi on an El-P beat what the fuck is the world coming to) set expectations properly, reigning in this energy and expanding on it, emphasizing this vibe throughout, nearly harnessing the very lightning in a bottle that was the combined C4C / RAP Music tour last year. "No Come Down" is a play on C4C's "Stay Down", essentially removing the dark, atmospheric interlude come down in favor of higher quantities of ass-kicking lyricism, expanding on the familiar refrain in both rappers' verses, viz Killer Mike, "You know I get gone I'm a goner / In the VIP of the club where they strip with a zip and a boner / Girl named Mary looking like a black Madonna / Tell me I can rent her but I can never own her". This is in response to El-P's own self-allusion, a transition as natural as any classic NWA or even Cannibal Ox track. Mike brings the fucking fire, and even though it may not be the best example, his last verse in "Get It" completely dwarfs Kanye West's generic musing on the plight of the modern black man on "New Slaves" in only a few bars:

My name is Michael Render
And we are the new Avengers
We're here to tell you all your false idols are just pretenders
They're corporation slaves indentured to all the lenders
So even if you got seven figures, you still a nigga


This is surely a rapper's rap record, eschewing El-P's traditional atmospheric techniques for an equal tradeoff between hard boom-bap and scientifical beats. "Sea Legs" certainly steals the record's spotlight in these respects with it's [insert hiphop reviewing adjective] synths and epic hook. But El goes off on the mic possessed with a masterclass in lyricism; the guy employs internal, multisyllabic, and straight up complex, entertaining rhymes and alliteratives. Check out this discussion if you have no idea what these things are; it will probably blow your mind: http://youtu.be/ooOL4T-BAg0 - keep in mind that not only is El-P a master of this shit too, but he's exceeded Eminem in every single way imaginable since Y2K's Marshall Mathers LP. Here is a brief snippet from "Sea Legs" that shows off his chops while in classic El-Producto fashion decrying the master-to-puppet relationship we have with all of our government, economic, or even personal control structures in place:

On the l AM in a hatchback blasting some rap shit, trying not to slam into traffic
With my feet on the wheel and my hands through the moon roof laughing
Let's crash this
See the truth from the womb is a fall-proof plan to be doomed while the damned do they dances
So I move through the room like an animal fooling a master
But I don't got love for the hand with the food, matter fact I am drooling at that shit
I don't only bite but I'm rabid
Try to pet my fucking head again and I'mma put a tooth through the flesh of the palm that you jack with


It's almost tragic that El-P can produce a handful of the world's best and most innovative records of all time, regardless of genre, yet still barely be lucky enough to make Pitchfork's illustrious best new music footnote. When Kanye West decides it's fucking brilliant to combine industrial and electronic influences with hip-hop, suddenly the music we've already been hearing since 1997's Funcrusher Plus is bukkake-worthy. But instead of crying about it on twitter, Killer Mike and El-P (fuck boys, think about it) release a short, 33-minute record absolutely brimming with ten of the hardest bangers known to man. After blasting this shit on eleven in both my daily morning and evening jewel-runs, I've got sea legs. Peace.



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user ratings (873)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
LambsBread (2.5)
Mediocre music by masterful musicians...

letlivekid (4.5)
Very rarely do we see a producer and rapper have the chemistry that El-P and Killer Mike share....

Adrian Hertzberg CONTRIBUTOR (5)
The true sound of hip-hop in 2013....

LyndonBainesJohnson (4)
It's Killler Mike and El-P? Fuck, boys! [i]Think about it.[/i]...


Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
July 1st 2013



8954 Comments


oh boy

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2013



14983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

dude

Scoot
July 1st 2013



17678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off


I GAT SEA LEGZ

Digging: Unjust - Glow

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2013



20623 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sea legs is my soty

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

ethixx
July 1st 2013



1170 Comments


sickkkkk review haha eat this shit kanye

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2013



49770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Stop 5ing every new hip hop record

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

JumpTheF**kUp
July 1st 2013



2710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

killer review

FourthReich
July 1st 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

change el-p's name to krs-one in the last paragraph and you'd sound exactly like hillaryclittongue!

Digging: Dot Hacker - How's Your Process? (Work)

demigod!
July 1st 2013



43818 Comments


@treb every el-p record*

and no

damn gotta check, huge el-p fan

Digging: Black Flag - My War

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2013



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3 | Sound Off

Damn, Sobhi! I can dig it.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 1st 2013



4939 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

@reich4 except i'd be correct :=}

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2013



14983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

"change el-p's name to krs-one in the last paragraph and you'd sound exactly like hillaryclittongue!"

loooooooooooool

FearThyEvil
July 1st 2013



12214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album

FourthReich
July 1st 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'd take any krs-one album over this honestly, oh shit now i'm starting to sound like him!

cagedescending
July 1st 2013



4124 Comments


wowee

kingsoby1
Emeritus
July 1st 2013



4939 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

shit next you'll adopt an even more ludicrous username than you already have like FourthReichOfObama

Tyrael
July 1st 2013



20725 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeaaaa

PuddlesPuddles
July 1st 2013



4764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Woooo
They done let that fuckin Mike out
It's like Tyson in the '80s, nigga snap and punch your lights out

cagedescending
July 1st 2013



4124 Comments


It's drones over Bklyn, you blink you could get tooken

oltnabrick
July 1st 2013



30083 Comments


Damn I hate being sobhi, I’m a smoker cause we can’t spell sobhi


Digging: Hello Kitty Suicide Club - ^_^



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