“I get physical, mystical, very artistical…Giving party people something
funky to listen to.”—Big Daddy Kane
Run The Jewels 2
Greetings fellow insomniacs, and welcome to our first installment! I figured what better way to kick-start things than to start off with my (and multiple others) 2014 album of the year. I present to you Run The Jewels 2!
Run the Jewels is a hip-hop duo consisting of Brooklyn MC El-P,originally a member of Company Flow and his Atlanta based partner in crime, Killer Mike. The two first collaborated on Killer Mike’s sixth studio album, “R.A.P Music”released in 2012, which was produced entirely by El-P. By 2013 the two had formed an alliance and Run The Jewels was born.
Run The Jewels released their first studio album in June of 2013 on Fool’s Gold Records. Later that year they announced a sequel in the Run The Jewels franchise, and to critical acclaim. On October 24th, 2014 RTJ2 had arrived.
RTJ2 would boast such guest appearances as Rage Against the Machine’s front-man, Zach De La Rocha, Travis Barker of Blink182, and others. Raw, hard-hitting violent lyrics, and complex metaphors, sprinkled atop jet fuel injected instrumentals, complements of El-P. This album is a message to fuck boys, politicians, whack ass rapper’s, police, and every skinny jean wearing poser bumping some shit like Tyler the Creator.
This album, in relevance to the rap community is a hammerhead shark that smells blood in the water, the unmatched intensity and chemistry between these two MC’s,along with El-P’s abstract, percussive, and dynamic production has made for an album which has secured its place amongst the greatest of the 2000’s. RTJ2 hit’s you relentlessly with so many different idea’s, concepts, moods, and energy you can’t keep up.
From the grinding synths and dark melody of “All My Life” to the nightmare arrest Killer Mike puts forward on “Early” it almost feels like the whole album was done in one take. It should also be noted Marvel has decided to pay homage in two parody covers of RTJ2 for the new issues of Deadpool and Howard The Duck.
The intro track, “Jeopardy” sets the bar high for the rest of RTJ2. Killer Mike sparks a fire on the mic with the first verse of the album and El matches that ferocity with reference to his genre paving career and anti establishment themed lyrics. We get two more equally high octane, head noddin songs before coming to one of my favorite tracks, “Close Your Eyes(And Count To Fuck) ft. Zach De La Rocha” El-P actually sampled Zach’s voice and used it as the base tempo for this instrumental.
Probably one of the most aggressive and contextually diverse tracks, we have Killer Mike eliciting revolt and revolution against corporate America. Very anti Police, “We killin them for freedom cause they tortured us for boredom/and even if some good one’s die fuck it the lord’ll sort em”. A direct reflection of the current attitude towards police and how they treat civilians.
Complemented by a De La Rocha hook and followed up by El-P with dope complex rhyme structure, hilarious sexual innuendo “I’m trained in vagina whispering.”, and general disgust at the condition he sees fellow “New Yorkians” living it. We finish off with a punch lined filled verse from Zach himself. And if anyone had any doubts about his ability to rap, that will be put to rest shortly after you hear him on this record, trust me.
Fast forward five tracks. Another favorite of mine, “Love Again”, treats us to some triple X rhymes over some jazzy funk cooked up by El just for this kinda love song.Overall narrative is each of them describing in surprisingly well detail, their experience with almost trained like women devoted to satisfying their needs. Obviously an ode to the 90’s era sex artists.
We even hear a shout out to 2 Live Crew from Killer Mike. You may remember 2 Live Crew for such classics as “Me So Horny” or to my personal preference ”The Fuck Shop”. If your girl don’t sing along to this one, she’s probably 17. Or even worse, a feminist. The hook is “dick in ‘er mouth all day”! You can’t, not love this one.
Then we come to close of album with “Angel Duster”. In a similar fashion to “A Christmas Fucking Miracle” from RTJ1, Mike and El end the album with a passionate message both introspective and for the world at large.“Angel Duster” addresses all of the previously themes prevalent throughout the album. Drugs, government, corruption, and religion. Easily the most energetic beat.
The kind of beat that sends shivers up your spine when it unexpectedly comes on. From the sped up metronome to the snake bite snare, almost cringe worthy organ keys and punch you in the fucking face drumkick.
These two deliver a PERFECT track. A1 lyrics flow like the river Nile, in fact every line in this song is just as heavy as the one before it. “Angel Duster” brings us to climax with superior in-depth metaphorically layered lyricism from both El and Mike. Just look at the line “You want a whore in a white dress, I want a wife in a thong” from El-P. Where we see him address the concept of how he wants to view the world as it is, rather than how most people want to.
People believe lies if it means feeling better about themselves or humanity as a whole. Trying to cover up corruption, indecency and ugly realities with a fabricated “white dress” . So in the same sense a whore tries to hide her ugliness and impurity. Society tries to accomplish the same feat. El would rather accept what is, over an attempt to mask the truth. This is a brilliant metaphor. To ride out we get treated a beautiful piano outro from recently deceased keyboardist, Ikey Owens(R.I.P).
I could go on for days about this song, let alone the whole album. Do yourselves a favor and pick it up TODAY!! I give Run The Jewels 2 a 9.9 outta 10. This is pretty much as good as it gets. If you don’t believe me do a quick Google search, every review website or magazine has RTJ2 within their top ten(Rolling Stone ranked it the #1 hip-hop album of 2014). Hell, listen to it yourself and tell me what you think! This concludes our first installment, I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do.
Leave me a comment telling me your favorite song or line from the album!
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Tune in next week for our next issue!