Run The Jewels 2 is the follow up to Run The Jewel‘s initial self titled project. Killer Mike and El-P had the Internet on its head when they came together for their original Run The Jewels project. The duo linked up after Killer called the NY based producer for sole production of his highly regarded solo LP, R.A.P. Music. The collaboration was so well received that they came together to form “Run The Jewels” and the rest is history.
By now most of us have heard the 2nd installment of their free self titled series and the response may be even better than the first one.
This was my introduction to the tandem so listening was an adjustment from most of what’s out today. When I finally adjusted to the project I realized its appeal, which was something I wasn’t used to. There were no ambient beats, no melodic hooks, no money talk; just two rappers talking about whatever the fuck they want, however the fuck they want to.
“All Due Respect” was a standout for me. Killer Mike holds no punches in his verse, literally. He is that rapper that can bully the bullies. He stays in his lane, but it’s clear to see that he can stand toe to toe with any rapper in the game. With a very assuring tone he tells us about his school days where he was most defiant and would punk the toughest kids in school. El-P and Little Shalimar’s ridiculously abrasive productions hit the spot and are brought out by featured artists Travis Barker’s live drumming. And did I mention the Jersey/Baltimore club inspired hook?
While most of the rapping wasn’t about anything in particular, the duo did attack some social issues on this album such as police brutality, unity, and Donald Sterling. “Lie, Cheat, Steal” was another standout. El-P speaks on how hard it is to live an honest life in New York and Mike touches on how prevalent violence is in the south before he delivers an interesting theory regarding Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Like who really fund this?
Like who really fund who say he fund this?
Like who in the world gon’ tell Donald Sterl who to put on the “you can’t come” list?
Now don’t be silly
Who the fuck gon’ bully me if I got a billi?
If I got a billi and the bitch recording me I’m like who cares
What I wouldn’t be is on TV stutterin’ ta-ta-talkin’ scared
– Killer Mike, Lie, Cheat, Steal
Mike sounds truly puzzled as to how the billionaire tycoon was marginalized to the point of stuttering his way through news interviews. It was his team so why couldn’t he put whoever on the “Do Not Come List?” It’s clear why, but Mike’s story does make you think a little bit.
But the social commentary doesn’t stop there. Mike and El-P deliver another stellar set of verses on “Early” where they use their words to give us a play by play look at how a simple encounter with the law can change the lives of many (Mike’s verse) and how little it can effect one after they’ve become desensitized to it (El-P’s verse).
Beyond that, Run The Jewels 2 is mostly Mike and El-P just talking their shit like they know how. No breaks, no funny interludes, just hard raps and crazy features. Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine appears on the amazingly titled “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck).” Gangsta Boo of Three Six Mafia is a female pimp in “Love Again.” If you’re not familiar with the duo this is a great introduction to them. It sounds like nothing else out right and gives you the best of both worlds. Hip-hop heads can rejoice the to the tune of Run The Jewels.