Run The Jewels are a hip-hop supergroup formed in 2013, consisting of rapper/producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike. As you could probably guess from the album title, this is the third instalment of their discography so far, with the other two albums being widely regarded as one of the best in their particular year of release, particularly Run The Jewels 2 which was absolutely remarkable. The pair were very successful before forming RTJ but creating this supergroup has added a whole new dimension to their sound and made sure that the best parts of each member shine through. Can Run The Jewels continue their record of great albums and make it three from three? Let’s find out.
Down (feat. Joi) – 9/10:
As is often the case, El-P’s production here is absolutely stunning, the way it fades out and then builds back up after Killer Mike’s fantastic intro is just glorious listening. Speaking of Killer Mike, his verse is fantastically catchy and could be one of the best verses on the whole album. El-P does his thing too and really compliments his beat very well indeed on this absolutely rocking intro which sticks in your head from the chorus to the witty wordplays. Brilliant start which will leave you full of optimism.
Talk To Me – 9/10:
The way this song is brought in is yet again a masterstroke from El-P who really has established himself as one of the most adventurous and talented producers in hip-hop. I may sound like a broken record on this album because the same positivity’s are screaming out at me, Killer Mike slays his verses and El-P is hard on the beats and his verses as well. Mike just edges this one but both are fantastic on this hype track full of clever samples and hardcore use of the ‘RTJ’ label they represent. Strong start to this album it has to be said.
Legend Has It – 9.5/10:
I love the way Killer Mike jumps into this song as he takes over the track over the top of that robotic intro which plays in the background throughout. The two of them also do a great job of swapping and changing who raps and they really prove how great their chemistry is, hence why the content they produce is so good. This was one of their singles and it is very easy to see why, a real banger without a chorus but that doesn’t matter when the rhymes are this good. The fine details they add are fantastic and they create such a brilliant sound. It gets better and better.
Call Ticketron – 8.5/10:
Once again I love how the songs fade into one another before that sudden switch on the beat, it makes everything sound so much better. For once we get to hear El-P start on this one and he does a good job but once again it’s Killer Mike who smashes it and confirms to us all he is one of the best MC’s out there. The beat is very strange and sounds like a bass boosted version of something Danny Brown would spit over but I really like it because it strikes Yeezus vibes for me and I really dig that. The chorus is cool and shows the best side of the group but those two verses at the end of the song, wow. They are the highlights of the whole album I promise you, crazy flow.
Hey Kids (Bumaye) (feat. Danny Brown) – 9/10:
Did someone mention Danny Brown? All I think about is how insane he would sound over an El-P beat and now we get to hear it first hand. Before we have that treat we have the joy that is another red hot Killer Mike verse, his flow is just scary good on this song and it is complimented very nicely by the chanted chorus chosen, in which people shout “Bumaye” a few times. El-P has outdone himself on the beat again and his verse isn’t half bad either. As for Danny Brown, he is as nuts as anticipated, you can barely understand a word he says but that’s ok, all I need to know is that it is incredible and be done with it. Another absolute banger.
Stay Gold – 8/10:
Hands down the most bizarre beat on the album as he remixes the words “stay gold” and creates a beat from it, genius at work. I do think the chorus is a bit soft, however as they spell out “gold” a few times and it is a good job we don’t hear it much. In this one, El-P does a better job than Mike and I think this is one of Killer Mike’s weaker performances with all things considered. You can almost allow it because of how amazing the production on it is and also the fact that El-P flies the flag with elegance. This is a great track again but it could have been even better.
Don’t Get Captured – 8.5/10:
A bit more of a haunting and dark beat at the start of this one, it sounds like something you’d expect to be accompanied by some low-budget teen fanasy-horror film. That doesn’t mean it is a poor beat, I actually very much like the beat and it is made better by the performances of Mike and El-P who slay the beat but what is new there? Mike takes this one again just for the fact that he started his verse with “hello from the little shop of horrors”, brilliant. The chorus is great and has a really catchy chant style to it while the whole atmosphere of the beat picks up around it. Another really clever and unique song.
Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe) – 7.5/10:
The sirens spread from thee end of the last song into this one, and that isn’t the only thing we get which is similar. Once again the beat is a bit darker and has more of a horror feel to it, particularly when you hear those subtle inclusions from Tunde Adepimpe who sets the scary scene of thieves and ghosts so well. He does distract me from the verses of Run The Jewels on the odd occasion, however and it is a shame that happens but luckily we are given a clear sound on their second verses, where each of them absolutely smash it. Not the best song on the album but it is still a good tune.
2100 (feat. BOOTS) – 7/10:
The atmosphere seems to pick up around this song with the high keyed synths on the beat and the whole instrumental becomes crazy once El-P kicks in with his verse. I love the way the beat goes once it all kicks off and it gives this one serious banger potential as El-P spits truth all over it. My honest opinion is that El-P smashes it out the park and really gets the style of the beat while Killer Mike sometimes get swallowed up by the intensity of it, but there are times where he sounds great. The feature of BOOTS does his bit in the hook but he hardly blows you away in all honesty, it’s neither here nor there. As a whole the song is one of the weaker ones on the album but again that isn’t saying it is poor because El-P’s production and bars combination is great.
Panther Like A Panther (Miracle Mix) (feat. Trina) – 8.5/10:
Upon release this song became the most listened to one and it is plain to see why, absolute insanity in the EDM influenced beat and Trina’s red hot arrogance in the hook. I really like the energy the whole song brings and I think it is great how they have managed to switch up the beat and not just make it a generic EDM track, instead throwing layers on it and spitting bars over it. Mike’s verse is great but for me the hook is the standout part of this track. Great moves from RTJ on here.
Everybody Stay Calm – 8/10:
Telling everyone to stay calm and then playing a banger like this guys? Come on now sort it out you know full well people won’t be calm listening to this one. It has the feel of a freestyle at times and I like the way Mike and El-P bounce off each other from line to line as they seem to almost go head to head with their bars. “Smoke anymore and my brain is vapour” is a truly awful line, however, and it lowers my rating for El-P on this one. I don’t know what he was thinking of with a line like that, it is just poor. The song flowed nicely without changing a great deal and the bars were clear and strong.
Oh Mama – 8.5/10:
This is like a heavy rock cut with the drum and the guitar riff at the start but that is soon squashed by El-P’s production as he distorts the sound and basically makes it sound like it is underwater but in a very good way, the beat is just sick on this song once again. I really am running out of superlatives for him as a producer he is simply unstoppable. Killer Mike is red hot on this too he really goes with that beat and sets it alight before stomping it down with authority. Great track again and I love the hook.
Thursday In The Danger Room (feat. Kamasi Washington) – 9/10:
Block rocker of a beat once more, it makes everything that much easier and they sure as hell show that when they pick up the microphone. El-P hasn’t used up his energy on this beat because his verses are hard on this one and his cadence is on point, not a single stutter in sight. I love the hook on this, it is so rhythmic while also maintaining a serious banger stamp, it also gives us a chance to hear Killer Mike a bit differently as he ad-libs his way through the hook. Mike’s verse is great and I love the anecdote he tells about a family who lose it all, he shows a soft side to himself and I like that. The role swap on the verses and hooks gives me life on this tune, by the way. Different class once again.
A Report To The Shareholders / Kill Your Masters – 9.5/10:
If ever there was a way to end a bass heavy album of wild production then this was it, sirens from the off and a very strange sound effect which sounds very similar to what I would imagine a UFO to sound like. Maybe that’ll explain why these guys are so good, maybe they’re not human? I love the enchantment of the production on this track as it gives off a sound and a feel of triumph, as if they know they have done it again, another top class album. Mike and El-P have such a strong bond and this song shows it as they both shout each other out for making one another millionaires. An absolutely brilliant way to end an absolutely brilliant project.
Overall – 8.5/10:
If this album had been released two weeks earlier it probably would have made my top 10 of the year, it is that good. Killer Mike is confirming to me that he is one of the most dominant MCs in the game as well as being a criminally underrated rapper. El-P is the production king and always will be, his beats are legendary and he will be legendary I am sure of it. In fact scrap that, Run The Jewels will be legendary. That is THREE top class albums back to back to back, there is a very select few artists who can pull that off and this group is one of them. RTJ all the way to the bank.