We Make Great Pets: On Run the Jewels’ ‘Meow the Jewels’

Featuring production assists from Alc, Dan the Automator, 3D of Massive Attack, Prince Paul, and more.
By    September 28, 2015


Chris Daly, deep down, is truly about that cat life

There is absolutely no good reason why Meow the Jewels should work. What started as a joke quickly blossomed into a very successful crowd funded remix project, proving once and for all that RTJ fans have the greatest sense of humor and/or weed connect in the realms of hip-hop. Original track titles have been replaced by puns of various effectiveness. The artwork has been reworked with cats and paws taking the place of their iconic imagery. And yet, what could and should come across as a one note joke is one of the best remix albums you’re likely to hear this year.

This, of course, is a testament to the murderer’s row of talent that Killer Mike and El-P selected to take this to the next level. Zola Jesus. Prince Paul. Boots. Blood Diamonds. The Alchemist. Dan the Automator. 3D of Massive Attack.

The album works as well as it does for two main reasons. 1) With the exception of Just Blaze’s “Oh My Darling Don’t Meow,” which sets up the song as the end result of a long night of drinking while falling asleep on the couch to Cat Week (please don’t let this become an actual thing; K9s for life, bitches!), no track draws particular focus to the fact that they’re adding feline purrs, meows and growls to their mixes. Instead, the various pussy cacophonies play subtly alongside pounding bass lines, driving drums, and the same essential vibe found on the originals. Secondly, as all great remixes prove, it’s best to let the source material speak for itself. While the beats are taken to extremes, the vocals arguably are cleaner (or at least more readily audible) than on RTJ2.

Believe it or not, it’s actually harder than you’d think to pick out stand-out tracks, more proof of just how good this is. Any remix album automatically is improved with the addition of an El-P remix, and the boys start off hard as hell with Jamie’s new interpretation, “Meowpurrdy.” Geoff Barrow’s “Close Your Eyes and Meow to Fluff” adds an even more ominous vibe to my personal favorite track from RTJ2, but it’s “Creown,” the only track that gets two remixes, that is off the chain (leash?) excellent. Alchemist’s version uses Trailer Park Boys audio clips and a repeating “meow” line that proves he quite probably has the most eclectic crates this side of Madlib. 3D’s take is far more martial, and the world is a better place for the existence of both.

Few artists, if any, could pull of a project as odd as Meow the Jewels, and yet, here we are. Clearly, we are in good paws.

lede photo originally ran in Flood magazine

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