Run the Jewels 2 Day (And Everyone’s Celebrating)

The Best Rap Group Breathing Drop Album #2
By    October 24, 2014


One of the reasons why young rappers are often the best rappers is that they still posses youthful fury, passion, swagger, and resentment. When you haven’t been put on, the chip on your clavicle is Gibralter-sized. You’re full of rage at the system that has blocked you out for the entirety of your life. When you “make it” (an entirely toothless term in 2014), you get comfortable, make friendships of convenience, meet your enemies and are crestfallen to realize they have more in common with you than you think. You’re scared to attack everything because suddenly, you have something to lose.

One of the reasons why El-P and Killer Mike have never fallen off is that they’re constitutionally incapable of compromise. Sometimes, this refusal to play the game can cause careers to collapse. This is the harder way. If you examine their lengthy careers, there are no awkward gestures for the sake of commerce, no mitigating the intensity of the message, nothing that resembles the majority of the rap game. Most rappers on speaking terms with 40 years old are thirsty to shark youthful trends. Maybe a ratchet song, the token trap gesture, the guest appearances from Bishop Nehru or Travis Porter or whoever we’ll forget tomorrow. Instead, this makes Gangsta Boo sound 31st Century on a song that namechecks Akinyele. In their own words: they’ve been like this their whole life.

It’s reductive to use the word revolutionary in terms of rap music. Public Enemy changed the world, but the Kleptocracy remains elemental in our oxygen. But if you’re going to be a revolutionary banging on your adversaries, this is the way to do it. They’ve merged their adolescent ideals with the wisdom of adulthood. This isn’t about to topple special interest groups, but it’s difficult to envision a more appropriate soundtrack.

If you want to age gracefully, this is the plan. Be a visionary producer neurotically obsessed with progression. Use every rap as a way to remember why you first started doing it in the first place. Revile complacency. Rap with the aggression and attitude of a guerilla army. Make sure your bombs are accurate and deadly. The Run the Jewels project is one continuous reprisal. The same shit that first made you mad,has merely mutated into a different form. Few are more artful at running the jux on crooked cops, repulsive Plutocrats, and conventional cliche. In an era where regionalism matters less than ever before, this is the perfect merger of north and south. El-P is shouting out Pimp C and Mike is rapping over beats from a man who once scored the graffiti doc, Bomb the System.  This is two locomotives colliding head-on and somehow surviving stronger than before.

A full review should hopefully come later. But in the meantime, you don’t need my advice to play this loud enough to make the walls crumble and the roaches run for cover. It’s important to remember why certain artists are important, but these guys aren’t self-important. At heart, this is the same living fuming shit-talking that channels those first fiery messages. Run the Jewels are a threat realized.

ZIP: Run the Jewels 2 —


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