Friday, 28 November 2014

#2: Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2

Everything about Run The Jewels has been fittingly anti-establishment since day one. Enter stage left: El-P, the self-styled 'New Yorkian' who founded Definitive Jux in the late '90s, a label which became home to some of the brightest stars of the new century's independent scene, and a producer famed for his dark, futuristic production style (in the man's own words: 'i swear to god i could make a beat with a banjo and a church organ only and someone will call it 'dystopian sci fi''). Enter stage right: Killer Mike, a seasoned MC from the Deep South who came up with Outkast and T.I., but spent more time delivering political rants against the neoliberal orthodoxy than playing for the camera. Even the name they came up with for their official joint venture was a dig at the pomp and ceremony of Kanye and Jay-Z's ego project. On the second LP, imaginatively titled Run The Jewels 2, the duo up the ante, enlisting Zach de la Rocha (!) to throw added political fire behind 'Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)', and taking aim wherever they smell bullshit and/or corruption: 'The fellows at the top are likely rapists / But you're like, "Mellow out man, just relax, it's really not that complicated" / Well pardon me, I'm guess I'm just as sane as you explained / Or maybe sanctifying the sadistic is deranged.' Elsewhere we get some clumsy blowjob humour in 'Love Again (Akinyele Back)', but for the most part, the pair find the zenith of their capabilities in bouncing off each other, and El's production is as hot as ever. Fun and intelligent, often in the same breath, this is what hip-hop should be all about. Keep watching that throne, boys.

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