Atlanta rapper Killer Mike and Brooklyn producer El-P pursued solo work for 20 years before 2013, when they became rap duo Run the Jewels. The two first worked together on Killer Mike’s album R.A.P. Music (2012), which El-P produced. This could even be seen as a proto-RTJ record, as before the song “JoJo’s Chillin'” Killer Mike announces, “This album was created entirely by Jaime and Mike.” Their first true collaboration came with their first self-titled album, Run the Jewels (2013). The album features the trademark boastful lyrics the group has since honed and perfected. It also hinted at some of the political themes that would be expanded on their next album, Run the Jewels 2 (2014). Released to critical acclaim, including Pitchfork’s Album of the Year, Run the Jewels delivered on some of their best and most colorful boasts while touching on subjects like race, police brutality, government surveillance, and sexuality.
Their fame continues to grow with Run the Jewels 3, released for free on Christmas last year. The political landscape of the past year informs the record, but does not dominate the lyrics. More personal topics, like the death of a loved one, are addressed, and of course the bravado of the previous records is still present. The beats on all three records, but on this one in particular, are so layered that new sounds and parts will be discovered with every repeated listen. The excitement of singles like “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck),” “Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry),” and “Legend Has It” earns them a place on any gym playlist. This excitement transfers to their live shows, and you will not want to miss out.
Run the Jewels are in the middle of a world tour, and will be at ACL Music Festival on October 8th and October 15th. You can also see them in Houston at the Revention Music Center on October 5th with Danny Brown. Doors open at 7, and tickets are available here. Check out their music on Spotify and on Youtube. Their records and merchandise are available here. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.