Run The Jewels

The day after Killer Mike talked about Ferguson in a ridiculously eloquent CNN interview, he and El-P are ready to let the world know about their second album as Run The Jewels. Run The Jewels, their first album as a duo was one of last year’s best rap full-lengths, and from everything we’ve heard, the new one, entitled RTJ2, could be even stronger. Like that first album, RTJ2 will be available as a free download, though you’ll also be able to get it on vinyl or CD. Rage Against The Machine’s Zach De La Rocha and Blink-182′s Travis Barker, as previously reported, will both appear on the LP, and there will be some other still-unnamed guests as well. And after we heard a clip of the bracing first single “Blockbuster Night Part 1,” they’ve now shared the whole track, and holy shit this thing is a monster, a rigorous and fervid back-and-forth over a beat that sounds like a giant robot’s death-rattle. Listen to it below.

RTJ2 is out 10/28 on Mass Appeal. There’s also a free Adult Swim single coming 9/15.

Comments (35)

    Was hoping to tuck my whole summer in for this one, but I guess I can wait.

  2. oh my. i can not wait for this album.


  4. Oh happy day!

    I already am looking forward to the Fall… this just makes it even more unbearable.

  5. YES.

    That beat is infectious.

  6. I think a new RTJ record is what the times call, both because of the dire shit in the headlines and also because this year has sucked for rap LPs.

    • *call for

    • You’re so right about the weak Rap albums this year. Other than Pinata, I can’t even name one that was really worthwhile. Ratking and Cunninlynguists were pretty decent, but not entirely memorable. Run the Jewels will hopefully change things.

      • stepbrothers- lord steppington, schoolboy q- oxymoron, kool a.d.- word ok, the underachievers- cellar door, madlib- rock conducta are all pretty worthy. i surprised cellar door isn’t being championed more, that record is amazing..

        • Just listened to Underachievers on Microphone Check this morning, long but great interview. It really illuminated, among many other things, how the album title fit really well with the aesthetic they pulled off. Ab-Soul stated something similar when discussing “These Days” and how Danny Brown told him the way to get your voice heard is similar to how to feed a pet medicine: mix the medicine in with their regular food. Sadly, I think it was this mentality that lead Soul to make some regrettable decisions on the album.

    • It has been pretty weak…Isaiah Rashad’s album was great, and the new Shabazz Palaces is growing on me, but besides that it’s been almost a complete wash. So thank god for the 4th quarter, cause it’s looking like it’s gonna bring an almost absurd wealth of awesome rap (Kanye, Kendrick, RTJ, maybe Chance).

      • Ah I keep forgetting Rashad’s album (probably because it’s one of the first that came out this year). Yeah, that was good.

        • The new Shabazz is great but it’s also… IDK like the “To Be Kind” of rap releases. It’s just not something I’m going to be in the mood for often, impressive as it undoubtedly is. I think it’s telling that pretty much all of my favorite rap verses this year have been features (Chance on SZA’s “Child’s Play,” Danny Brown on “Attak”). There have also been some good singles. Nicki Minaj has had quite the year, “Sancitifed” was epic, “Pinata” and “Oxymoron” both have some keepers.

          • i feel like lese majesty is initially a headphone album or for listening to while driving alone in your car. i understand the “not something to be in the mood for often” sentiment, though. i definitely had to spend some time with it before it started receiving regular plays on my itunes. black up had me from the get go, lese majesty was more of a grower.

      • There have been plenty of good LPs this year but I think a lot of people were let down a bit by some artists’ releases. While I can’t say that they completely lived up to expectations, I really like Ab-Soul and Iamsu!’s albums. I keep going back to them and finding more that I like even though I may not be able to listen to them start to finish without skipping a few songs.

        • Good call on Ab-Soul, I think his record is getting slept on a bit and I’m definitely guilty there. I remember it being kind of a mess, but there was some cool stuff and I should probably listen again… have put a few of the tracks on various playlists tho.

          • That Ab-Soul album is much better than you think, the first couple times around… you gotta really digest it before you realize the beauty in its entirety. And to me, my two favorite cuts are like “hidden” cuts, that start playing after the initial song (like Dub Sac for example)

            This RTJ tho, whooooWEE!!! These rappers out here betta protect they neck!! Run ‘em!

  7. HA!

    Good luck Ye & K.Dot

  8. 2014 spicing up. OWWWOOOOOOO!

  9. Love the song. Must also say that I love Tom’s short descriptions of beats. “A giant robot’s death-rattle” conjures a mental picture that perfectly matches the feel of the song in my mind. My favorite was when he described the beat for “Move That Dope” as “like a spaceship melting.” Every time I hear that song I can’t help but think of the Close Encounters spaceship melting while it plays the five-note theme.

  10. fuck yeah! its so mean!

  11. FUCK. YES. I still listen to Run The Jewels 1 almost daily.

  12. FUCK.

    That last verse though..

  13. Damn that was good. What a great way to start the day. My year end list just got another lock.

  14. “Top o’ the morning/my fist to your face is fucking Folgers” might have just eked out “bitch so exotic she rode on a zebra” as my favorite Killer Mike line.

  15. This is fire. It’s exactly what Hip-Hop needs this year (and every year).

  16. “Killer Mike said, ‘It is the best rap group album since RTJ1!’”

    Never change Mike!

  17. Damn – it’s gonna be real hard to not wear out this mp3 before 10/28

    Kinda reminds me of the beat for Liquid Swords in its awesomely simple infectiousness.

  18. Rappers at the top like Ye, Jay, Drake, Rick Ross, Kendrick, and Nicki always pat each other on the back and generally make each other richer, while guys like RTJ are just back here killing the game and never get any praise from any of them.

    Hip hop is a competition, with everyone calling out everyone, and I can’t believe that major label players aren’t paying attention to Fool’s Gold. Like here are two ridiculously talented rappers who, for all intents and purposes, have better output than all of the MCs I listed above, yet they aren’t even mentioned by anyone getting radio play. Shit, I’d take Kanye saying something like “Killer Mike is wack” over just not acknowledging the fact that this music is being made at all. It’s the “Control” verse all over again — the fact that your name wasn’t said is so much more of an insult.


    • I think rap nowadays is very parallel to the ME-MANIA generation. I think it’s why people love supporting ONE rapper or ONE DJ because it’s MUCH easier to vicariously experience what they’re experiencing. Also parallel to celebrity culture in general.

      I’m reminded of a Tim & Eric sketch in the final episode of Awesome Show. They’re talking to Ben Stiller about how his career has plateaued. Eric demonstrates to Ben that at the top, you got the comedy duos like Cheech & Chong or Tim & Eric. Then you got your Ben Stiller’s lower down the totem pole. It’s a hilarious joke, but it echoes the idea that collaboration more often than not yields greater results.

      I mean look at ANY good band. Part of the beauty of music is how 2 to 5 to 12 people can get together and create something larger than any single person. But that’s just one end of the spectrum. Because people also want to see what ONE person is capable of by themselves. It’s a measure of individual human potential and I can see how that can be just as appealing to watching a group’s talent potential.

      So in the case of Run The Jewels, because they’re a duo, they brush right up against that individual threshold, but in the end get lumped into the “group” domain I outlined previously.

      Since it seems our culture tends to celebrate individual achievement more often than group achievement, I feel like that’s A reason they don’t get the respect they deserve. Of course, I’m just thinking out loud over here, but I think there is some truth to what I just typed.

      • I feel you on your observation that groups can produce something much powerful together than separated. I mentioned above an episode of Microphone Check with the Underachievers and there was a part that stuck out to me when they were talking about how the group dynamic worked for them. Then Ali Shaheed Muhammad mentioned that anyone that would come up to him and ask advice about getting into the rap game he would tell them to find someone else that would bring out the best in them. I really is that spirit of competition that pushes individuals to new levels when they work together. Outkast, Beastie Boys, Black Hippie, RTJ… all examples of groups that produce great music when all of the parts are working together.

    • Control verse included wale, meek mill, and lil shawn. that’s setting the bar as low as a fuckin toilet bolt
      they know – and they don’t dare touch the jewels.

      that’s what I said, to all the ladies

      because they know i have the clap.

    • I feel what you’re saying Wes. One of the only exceptions I can think of is Jay’s classic shout-out to Talib Kweli and Common (Sense) on “Moment of Clarity.” But as per donny’s point, everyone blew smoke up Kendrick’s ass for the Control verse when it mostly showed that rap’s rookie of the year has pretty unimaginative (if not outright bad) taste in rap.

  19. I’m gonna be blasting this for two months now.

  20. That Ab-Soul album is much better than you think, the first couple times around… you gotta really digest it before you realize the beauty in its entirety. And to me, my two favorite cuts are like “hidden” cuts, that start playing after the initial song (like Dub Sac for example)

    This RTJ tho, whooooWEE!!! These rappers out here betta protect they neck!! Run ‘em!

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