El-P and Killer Mike return with their most politically-charged album to date.
Following from the leaking of emails from the Clinton campaign which spoke of Killer Mike and his repeated backing of Bernie Sanders, it should come as no surprise to many that on Run The Jewels 3, Killer Mike and El-P are at their most politically charged.
It takes five minutes for Run The Jewels to relieve any doubts people may have had about the record as the duo set out their mantra for another energetic album: “I told y’all suckers, I told y’all suckers. I told y’all on RTJ1, then I told ya again on RTJ2, and you still ain’t believe me. So here we go, RTJ3”. It’s simplistic, but when done with the aggression and energy that hasn’t been seen in decades in a duo it captivates.
Ambitious production with the sound turned up to eleven is a constant and on the Simian Mobile Disco-sampled ‘Call Ticketron’ that immediately grabs the attention. Downscale beats and contrasting bass provides the perfect backdrop for the punchy delivery of one of the few non-political tracks on the album. Whilst ‘Panther Like A Panther’ features a superb hook to contrast with the verses’ dark sound.
RTJ3 is an album laden with a lovely blend of features that shows just how dynamic the duo are; the Danny Brown hook-up ‘Hey Kids (Bumaye)’, brings Brown’s unique style to the foray as a series of surreal wordplays enthrals the listener. Elsewhere it is the turn of Kamasi Washington to add a unique piece of melancholy to the album, as with a Ghostpoet-styled urban-tinged R&B.
But it is the final feature of Zack De La Rocha that provides the album’s highlight; the Rage Against The Machine frontman harks back to his ’90s heyday again with the duo on closing track ‘A Report To The Shareholders / Kill Your Masters’, a track bursting with fire and hate against a tyrannical government that serves as one last stab at the powers that be. The track splits in two with ‘A Report To Shareholders’ evoking memories of a downbeat Mike Skinner, before the final half bursts with drums and bass to create a moment of true triumph.
RTJ3 may not technically be 2017’s first great record with the surprise Christmas Day release, but we’ll count it because of its physical release. For 51 minutes, Killer Mike and El-P show just why their splendiferous style of aggression is a thing of brilliance. From topics of government to businesses to global warming, Run The Jewels make it abundantly clear where they stand and though it may be a negative that “it will never change” the positives that come from RTJ having something to protest are magnificent – long may that continue at last.
Listen to Run The Jewels 3 here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: album, Best New Music, El-P, Killer Mike, review, Run The Jewels
Reading Music Journalism at Huddersfield University, I have a passion for all things musical. I pride myself on being open minded in music genres and have a love of writing to match. The coolest cat on The Student Playlist, I also support Hartlepool United and am an avid pro-wrestling fan.
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