The first Run The Jewels record capped a victory lap of a year for producer EL-P and rapper Killer Mike, who respectively released the bombastic 'Cancer 4 Cure' and poignant 'R.A.P Music' -- they then went on to release their collaborative self-titled record, which showed off the affection and understanding they share for each other's work. They're back now with the blood red 'Run The Jewels 2'.
- Double LP £21.49
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- 81281402014 / Limited Special Edition PINK coloured vinyl 2LP on Mass Appeal edition of 500! - Supports Breast Cancer Awareness!
9/10 Dan Customer review, 24th March 2015
Hip-Hop is a scene that died (commercially, at least) around the mid 00's - where some of the industry's most talented artists were relegated to featuring on mainstream pop tracks, playing the role of redundant hype-men (Redman featured on Christina's 'Dirrrty' don't forget) or drafted in to play mindless catch-phrase monkeys (Lil' Wayne has featured on more top 20 hits in the UK than ANY other black man).
Where did it all go wrong? - It doesn't matter, because recent evidence suggests that Hip-Hop is alive and well after all. Turns out it's been in the hands of a select few of the most dedicated custodians, remaining true to their artistic vision and not willing to sell out for a commercial payday. Killer Mike & El-P are industry veterans who came in for some long overdue praise off the back of their first collaborative effort, "Run The Jewels" - released in 2013 - and many thought it was just a flash in the pan, an ode to a scene long since dispersed. Not so.
This second effort brings the aggression in spades - spitting no-holds-barred lyrics that don't pull any punches and some bleeding-edge production work from El-P himself. There aren't many Hip Hop duos like Mike & El, who work together like a an experienced tag-team with a diverse repertoire of routines - happy to share the limelight and giving each other equal chance to show off their best material. Indeed, the two rappers styles were much more disparate prior to Run The Jewels, with Killer Mike playing the raw southern playboy with his distinctive Georgian colloquialisms and El-P the production expert with an axe to grind against all that is mainstream. Both of them are smoother around the edges on this record, finding common enemies where they are not often found on Hip Hop records - it's not the Crips or the Bloods, the East or the West that RTJ take aim for, but the establishment. The Police are there, sure - when aren't they? But it's the vitriol aimed at the establishment, rape culture at the top of our cultural hierarchy for example, that makes this record so fresh and so relevant.
It's by far the best Hip Hop record to come out in 2014, and if the mass-market will forgive the scene it's grandiose indulgences of a decade ago, we may well be seeing a lot more of Run The Jewels... An excellent record.
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