On Thursday (well, technically Friday, but we’ll explain later) , quite unexpectedly, MC duo El-P and Killer Mike dropped their very much looked forward to Run The Jewels 2, a follow up to their highly accomplished 2013 album of the same name.
After an unofficial leak started spreading across the internet, the guys from RTJ decided to take control of the situation and thought ‘fuck it, let’s drop one of this year’s most anticipated Hip Hop records at 1:28 on a Thursday‘. Fair enough. Even better, they decided to make it available completely FREE from their website to stream and download (d/l link at bottom of page). Quite a bold move, but to be honest, it’s things like this that make RTJ the group that they are. As for the reception, well, we’ll let the tweets speak for themselves:
You get the idea! We’ve been bumping this from the moment it dropped and can’t say anything other than we most definitely agree with the tweets. It’s intense listening for sure, but only because of how raw it is as a piece of recorded material.
The lyrics are littered with sex and murder, and are delivered in an aggressive manner over bass heavy and often disjointed instrumentals. What’s impressive in the midst of all this, is the complexity of the music; it’s hype and exciting, but if you take a second to listen in carefully, the lyrics are finely tuned and each song successively represents some form of concept or story. Crown, for example, chronicles Killer Mike’s experiences selling rock in his neighbourhood as a youth: ‘Used to walk traps in the rain with cocaine/ Used to write raps in the traps/ as I sat in the rain and I prayed that God give me a lane’. These guys are renowned for their impressive and sometimes vulgar wordplay, and with this record prove themselves to be some of the most advanced lyricists around at the moment. Their lyrics are extremely playful and fun to listen to, such as this segment from Blockbuster Night Pt.1:
‘Bunches and bunches, punches is thrown until you’re frontless
Oodles and oodles, bang bullets at suckas’ noodles
Last album voodoo, proved that we was fuckin’ brutal
I’m talking crazy, half past the clock is cuckoo’
The duo are joined on the album by a number of interesting cameos, including Rage Against The Machine’s vocalist Zack De La Rocha for ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)’ (hilarious name); Blink 182’s Travis Barker on All Due Respect; Californian musician Diane Coffee on Crown; lady rapper Gangsta Boo on Love Again, and all round musical don BOOTS on Early.
Overall, this album is a fantastic triumph for Run The Jewels, and has drawn the spotlight on two passionate artists who deserve the attention. So far, our favourites are probably Early, Jeopardy, and All My Life, though all the tracks have something different to offer in their own right, with no real weak links. We like to let you make up your own minds though, so go download the album for free HERE (also comes with a cool digital album booklet), and then if you’re feeling it as much as everyone else is, buy it on Itunes HERE to show some support, and get the extra track Blockbuster Night Pt 2, which appears to only be available on the Itunes copy. Enjoy!