Last year, Killer Mike and El-P teamed up to make one of the best hip hop albums of the year. They were a seemingly odd duo, but their pairing resulted in an excellent album. After the critical acclaim that they received, they decided to form an official group, Run the Jewels. Along with forming an official duo, Killer Mike and El-P decided to split the mic time, while still having El-P provide all of the production. Here is their highly anticipated debut album, Run the Jewels.
The first thing that needs to be mentioned when discussing any release that El-P had his hands on is the production. El-P has established himself time and time again as one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time. Given his production discography, especially his two great albums last year, it’s safe to say that everyone expected nothing less than greatness from the beats on this album. As expected, these beats are excellent. Some people are saying that these beats sound like something in between R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure, which I would agree with. They’re less experimental than the ones on Cancer 4 Cure and more experimental than the ones on R.A.P. Music. Whether you preferred R.A.P. Music or Cancer 4 Cure, you won’t be disappointed with this album. These beats are dark and they bang like you wouldn’t believe. If you look for hip hop that makes your nod your head to the point of thinking that your neck might snap, this album was made for you.
The aspect of this album that had some people a little bit nervous as to how good it would be is that El-P and Killer Mike both rap on it. The only rapper on R.A.P. Music was Killer Mike, so some people were worried that El-P would mess up the chemistry of the album. If you were one of those people, you can put your nerves to rest. El-P and Killer Mike have great chemistry on this album. Throughout the album, they trade dope after dope verse. R.A.P. Music may have been a little bit more focused in that most of the songs were political in nature. Most of the songs on this album are focused on bragging. In my opinion, the rapping on this album is just as good as the rapping on R.A.P. Music. When you listen to it, you get the feeling that El-P and Killer Mike are trying to out rap each other. Through friendly competition, they basically inspire each other to bring their A-game. They make this album really fun to listen to, as if the production didn’t already do a great job at that.
All of the songs on this album are good, even my least favorite song, “36” Chain.” The album starts off fantastically with two great songs. “Run the Jewels” is easily one of the best album openers of the year and “Banana Clipper,” which features are great verse from Big Boi, is just as good as the opener. Then, the album proceeds with “DDFF,” which is another great song. That song is followed by “Sea Legs,” which is a very cool song. The next song, “Job Well Done,” is equally as good as “Sea Legs” and it features a very memorable chorus by Until the Ribbon Breaks. “No Come Down” is another excellent song. Killer Mike’s verse on it is one of my personal favorite verses of the year. “Get It” is probably my second least favorite song on the album, but it’s still very good. “Twin Hype Back” is one of my favorite songs on the album. If you like Prince Paul and his warped sense of humor, you’re guaranteed to like it. Then, the album finishes with “A Christmas Fucking Miracle,” which is my favorite song on the album. It demonstrates once again that El-P is the king of closing albums. The lyrics and the way that the beat builds are both indescribably great. It’s a major contender for my favorite hip hop song of the year and there couldn’t possibly be a better closer for the album.
With this album, Killer Mike and El-P prove once again that they have incredible chemistry and that they can make great music together. With their consistently great production and rapping, I have a hard time imagining that they’ll ever make an album that isn’t great. My only “complaint” about this album is that it’s too short. Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s pretty much exactly what I look for in current hip hop. Very few artists, especially these days, are able to make two great albums in a row, but Killer Mike and El-P managed to do it with ease. If you liked their first album, I HIGHLY recommend this album to you. Trust me, you WILL NOT be disappointed with it. It’s easily one of the best hip hop albums of the year so far and it’s free. You can’t ask for anything better than that.