Run The Jewels is back.
The M.O. of El-P and Killer Mike hasn’t changed all that much since the last one: Fucking curbstomping every whack-ass rapper and opponent on the planet. That’s RTJ’s business, and business is always booming.
Dropping their latest effort, simply titled Run The Jewels 3, on Christmas day 2016, Mike and El not only saved Christmas (what a fucking miracle!), but completely fucked up everyone’s best-of lists for 2016, and maybe 2017 too because this album is…really damn good.
What, were you expecting anything different?
Run The Jewels 3 is another installment of the dynamic duo all-out rhyming with no bullshit, and three albums deep their chemistry has only gotten better and better. They’ve taken hardcore rap to new heights, and this time around Mike and El are pushing matters in a much more political direction. While RTJ2 was a double-barrel mostly pointed at fuckboy emcees, RTJ3 has them tackling issues much greater, with songs speaking on police brutality, protesting, and more than a few comments towards our orange cheeto president-elect. The album is darker, the comments more pointed, and El’s production is a bit more ominous. There’s an emotional weight to this record which wasn’t really as apparent on the first two. Dare I say, it’s best work they’ve put out so far.
Case in point, Mike’s lyrics from this listen, which is electrifying:
Go cold like the land of Chicago
Child soldiers sprayin’ the chopper
But you don’t give a fuck, that’s them though
‘Til a peasant put a pistol in your window
You ain’t really need that chain
You ain’t really need that ring
You ain’t really need them thangs…
Gives me chills, and “Don’t Get Captured” is one of my highlights of RTJ3. On this one Mike comes at you live from the hood, a rapidly gentrifying place where violence and poor people aren’t a problem til the rich folks wanna move in, be it Chicago, Brooklyn, Atlanta (Mike’s hometown, where he points out that even poor whites get the shaft too), and hell, most definitely DC. El takes on the role of a crooked cop, who has no problems shooting to kill if one of those hood-dwellers cross his path. Both sides live by those words, don’t get captured, and by the end of this one you’re hoping that the rebels run those jewels and get away clean. It’s a poignant track given current events in America and it hits hard, particularly with that dope coda towards the end where those words are repeated over and over like a mantra: Don’t get captured.