Run the Jewels
Meow the Jewels


2.0
poor

Review

by Zachary Hansen USER (3 Reviews)
October 2nd, 2015 | 129 replies


Release Date: 09/25/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A cacophony of noise

What started as an inside-joke fundraiser on Kickstarter by hip-hop duo Run The Jewels has now sprouted into a full remix of the group’s 2014 sophomore album “Run The Jewels 2.” Using only a drum machine, synthesizer and some very talkative cats, rappers Killer Mike and El-P created the album “Meow The Jewels.” Run The Jewels’ original goal of raising $40,000 to fund the record was easily surpassed, perhaps proving that way more crazy cat ladies are fans of the hard-hitting hip-hop duo than anyone might have expected.

The album is it’s most interesting when it ditches the constructs of the original “Run The Jewels 2” tracks, and instead devolves into a cacophony (or “cat-cophony”) of noise. The end of the song “Pawfluffer Night (Zola Jesus Remix)” provides a strong example of this, as the track deconstructs completely by its end, crumbling in a warbling digitized orgy of harsh noise that covers up Killer Mike’s vocals completely. The turbulent crashing of beats and tones sounds more like something Death Grips would do, added to the more hilarious concepts that reflect jokester personalities of Killer Mike and El-P. “Pawfluffer Night (Zola Jesus Remix)” displays the album’s biggest weakness as well though, as it neutralizes El-P’s original arrangements, which were part of what made “Run The Jewels 2” such an enjoyable album to begin with. The original beat to “Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1,” the song’s non-feline source material, made the track what it was. Taking away the song’s syncopated triplet bass pattern halts the flow of the track immediately and disposes of its most defining characteristic.

El-P’s production is always heavily layered, full of complexity and trademarked by non-stereotypical beats and synths, and while “Meow The Jewels” is definitely a not stereotypical in its production, most of the remixes lose the ferocity of the originals. Another potent example is the removal of drummer Travis Barker’s feature on the song, “All Due Respect,” as the Blink-182 percussionist does not appear on the track’s cat-coated version. “Paw Due Respect (Blood Diamonds Remix)” replaces Barker’s constant drum fills with a tinny snare that has no fullness in the song’s final mix. The tempo remains as fast as the original, but without consistent drumbeats this just adds more focus to how empty and minimalist the beat actually is. El-P’s production is still heavily felt on the opening track, which is the only remix actually done by the New York producer. It’s brutally heavy, heavier than the original “Jeopardy,” and consists of layered cat squeals, tiger growls and meows, all drenched in synthesizers. What’s dumbfounding is that is actually works and adds some validation to an otherwise asinine project, however little its addition is.

There are also tracks that attempt to imitate the original beats verbatim, just with cat noises. The song “All Meow Life (Nick Hood Remix)” perfectly exemplifies this, with its arrangement being next to identical to the original “All My Life,” just disguised by a fuzzier façade. Remixes such as these are probably the most ear warming on the record, but they still all sound like retreads that aren’t worth more than a curious listen or two.

In its essence the album is a curiosity piece. It’s completely tongue-in-cheek and self-aware in its insanity, and it revels in it. In this way, the album makes sense for Run The Jewels, as there never was any real risk in the project since crowd funding paid it for. However, its execution actually in some strange way leaves the listener wanting more of Run The Jewels, feline or not. A new legitimate album or remix album would definitely be preferable, but another dip into this proverbial litter box wouldn’t be discouraged. El-P just needs to be in the producer’s chair for its entirety next time around.


user ratings (164)
Chart.
2.6
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other reviews of this album
TheCharmingMan (3)
RTJ3, please have werewolf hands...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Zeh1996
October 2nd 2015


42 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I apologize for some of the formatting of this. It was originally written using a newspaper AP style.

SharkTooth
October 2nd 2015


13735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

dat ratings chart

HenchmanOfSanta
October 2nd 2015


1994 Comments


I wish I could be mad enough about a novelty album to rate it a 1

SharkTooth
October 2nd 2015


13735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

" New York producer who makes almost all of Run The Jewel’s standard album beats"



might want to fix that







nice review btw

Zeh1996
October 2nd 2015


42 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The fact that it is such a stupid concept, but was executed as well as it was earns a little respect from me. It's still pretty terrible, but it had next to nothing to work with, and made more with it than I ever thought possible. That earns a 2 in my book, but by technicality.

IHateRadiohead
October 2nd 2015


343 Comments


I'm listening to some of the songs and I'm really disappointed. Could have been the funniest yet coolest shit ever but it's so bland and underwhelming. I'm not even sure if the people who made the remixes even had fun making the beats.

Ryus
October 2nd 2015


13744 Comments


what an album

Digging: Actress - AZD

SharkTooth
October 2nd 2015


13735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

best rtj album

IHateRadiohead
October 2nd 2015


343 Comments


then why are the other two albums rated higher by you

SharkTooth
October 2nd 2015


13735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I was joking

Ryus
October 2nd 2015


13744 Comments


"then why are the other two albums rated higher by you"
very perceptive

IHateRadiohead
October 2nd 2015


343 Comments


real eyes realize real lies

HenchmanOfSanta
October 2nd 2015


1994 Comments


I should definitely rate this a 4 because they wanted it to be bad, and they're morally righteous dudes, donating to charity and all. Yeah, why don't I do that.







Because it's fucking shit....


Like, it's a fucking joke album. Bothering to rate it at all with the same scale that we grade serious records is weird to me, but getting salty about an album that you knew would be constructed from cat noises in fact being constructed from cat noises is extra weird. We live in a world where Emmure continues to release music and you think this is the worst thing released in two years?

SpiritCrusher2
October 2nd 2015


5333 Comments


you guys are lame

IHateRadiohead
October 2nd 2015


343 Comments


Even joke albums can have good material in it. This doesn't have any, it's just wasted potential and it doesn't even work as a joke. This is just Meh the Jewels.

HenchmanOfSanta
October 2nd 2015


1994 Comments


I'm really curious what "potential" a rap album with cat noises for beats and vocal tracks that already existed really had

SpiritCrusher2
October 2nd 2015


5333 Comments


^

theBoneyKing
October 2nd 2015


9059 Comments


Pitchfork's review of this was characteristically ridiculous, and their rating is great

Digging: Songs: Ohia - Magnolia Electric Co

SpiritCrusher2
October 2nd 2015


5333 Comments


OH NO PLEASE DON'T DESTROY MUSIC

sblevins95
October 2nd 2015


214 Comments


Can we all at least acknowledge the 3d remix for Creown was pretty dope though



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