#5 Album of The Year: Killer Mike and El-P- Run the Jewels

Posted: December 30, 2013 by ericbernsen in Album Reviews, Music
Tags: , , , ,

The connection between Atlanta based rapper Killer Mike and once upon a time member of Company Flow producer El-P is one that quickly developed and proved to be rewarding in 2012 when Killer Mike released his critically acclaimed album R.A.P Music. The project was entirely produced by El-P and the natural chemistry between the two artists was undeniable to the point that the fans were left craving for more.

Well, earlier this year we were blessed with exactly that under the Run The Jewels moniker. The album of the same name was praised to the extent that it constantly faced comparisons to the well-known Watch The Throne project released by mainstream rap heavyweights Kanye West and Jay Z. Run the Jewels has been labeled as the evil underground twin of WTT and deservingly so. While many are used to Killer Mike and El-P rapping about forms of government fueled injustice, this project is more so a swift lyrical ass kicking with the duo challenging each other on the best methods of being genuine hell-raisers.

The styles between the two contrast each other perfectly as there seems to be a mutual understanding in regards to how they will unleash the destructive force of their raps. Killer Mike’s authoritative delivery with a commanding Southern drawl makes his every line feel like a punch in the face, inviting an analogy to Brad Pitt in Fight Club with the point of impact resulting in an euphoric feeling of pain. The other half of Run the Jewels, El-P, specializes in creating the appropriate soundscape for these hardcore raps but in his oddball manner, the producer is just as capable of poetically spitting his smack talk. On tracks such as “Sea Legs” and “Job Well Done”, the duo use the freedom of being on an independent label to even take shots at Hova and Ye, comparing them to “parrots” and “liars”. As demonstrated throughout the entire project, Killer Mike and El-P are enthusiastically taking on the role as “rap villains” and they seem to relish in the opportunity to do so.

Musically, Run The Jewels is an album filled with aggressive synths and hard hitting 808 drums that makes each track a rather harsh listen. EL-P isn’t interested in any gospel samples or R&B singers to balance out the aggressiveness of the project. The electronic influenced beats on here are all booming head bangers that create a dark atmosphere for Killer Mike and El-P to execute their lyrical annihilation of whatever/whoever is in their sight. The cohesiveness and shared worldviews between the duo is what makes their collaboration sound so pure and savagely organic.

While the veteran emcees do make room to rap about the gritty truths of our society, Run The Jewels is an album in which Killer Mike and El-P feed off each other’s wild energy and that energy transfers straight to the ears of the listener. The two legendary artists force each other to bring their A game on this project, so do yourself a favor and give this bold yet refreshing body of work a listen; I guarantee it will be one hell of a ride.

Listen to Run The Jewels below and let us know what you think of the review/rating!

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