It’s a Christmas miracle! Two weeks in advance, the dynamic duo of Killer Mike and El-P released their much anticipated third album, RTJ 3. The unapologetic pair have long been known their poignant rhymes, with much of their lyrics concerning the social injustices facing our generation. This time around RtJ really amp their message up a notch. In a year that’s seen one of the most interesting elections in U.S. history, Mike and P add fuel to the fire by delivering razor-sharp lyrics calling-out the abysmal state of affairs within a dysfunctional society. In this writer’s opinion Run the Jewels have released their most thought provoking offering to date, not an easy task when considering the Jewels already have two stellar albums to their name.
The LP is flooded by well-composed futuristic beats. El-P is masterful in his producing and reaching a balance to complement his rapid-fire style, while keeping Mike’s throwback flow and dystopian times lyrics front and center. For his part, Killer Mike puts his best foot forward. Known for his deliveries on systematic racism and social inequality, Mike seems a tad angrier and best displays his frustrations on premier tone-setting track Talk to Me.
Mike holds nothing back delivering standout rhyme “Born black, that’s dead on arrival, my job is to fight for survival, in spite of these AllLivesMatter ass white folk”; lyrics that would surely make legendary rap super-group NWA proud. The highly tense track doubles down by critiquing, without naming, a certain president elect on lines “Went to war with the devil and shaytan, he wore a bad toupee and a spray tan”, an emblematic line to the struggles that minorities fear with the incoming government Despite Jewels forming merely 3 years ago, the pair seem to have achieved a smooth well-balanced display of talent on RtJ3. This LP is their most ambitious and polished release to date.
Run the Jewels 3 also boasts of celebrity cameos, featuring such talented artists like Danny Brown on “Hey Kids”, legendary saxophonist Kamasi Washington on “Thursday in the Danger Room” and writing by Zack de la Rocha on closing track “A Report to the Shareholders/Kill Your Masters”; however RtJ3 reaches its peak on melodic sign-of-the-times track “2100”.
The pistol and fist duo recruit singer/producer BOOTS to deliver a message of hope in spite of the chaos dividing populations and nations in these times. Hard hitting lyrics reason that we the people should not be blinded by the guise of patriotism into taking the lives of our fellow man, and asks the listener to look behind the curtain to see who’s really pulling the strings. A track voicing serious concerns that reads more like a profane campaign speech by presidential nominee Bernie Sanders (of whom Killer Mike was an outspoken supporter).
Be sure to give RtJ3 a listen, as it’s one of the best rap albums released in recent memory and a good bet to be heralded a classic in due time. To learn more about Run the Jewels, be sure to visit their website for updates and information at www.runthejewels.com and check them out live as they embark on a massive album support tour come January of 2017 kicking off in the city of brotherly love: Philadelphia.