Review: Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
Published on July 22nd, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
El-P and Killer Mike team up for their second album together and their first as Run The Jewels. Introductory info/preamble fans take note: it was produced by the former and features guest appearances from Big Boi, Prince Paul (as Chest Rockwell) and Until the Ribbon Breaks.
The opening title track announces itself in emphatic fashion, El-P’s breakneck flow and Killer Mike’s distinctive way with piling up rhymes all punctuated by outbreaks of blaring organ and a daft, vampish sort of brass sample.
Rhythm-section-wise, El-P favours sparse, tinny beats that pop and click ‘neath the occasional swirls of electronic bleeps; it’s not revolutionary but it’s all that’s needed to underpin the consummate tag-teaming overhead.
So relentless is it all that it can be hard to keep up with. This unfortunately isn’t conducive to picking out the more pointed lyrics but the more playful lines can’t help but leap out at you: Killer Mike kicks off “Banana Splitter” with “I move with the elegance of an African elephant” (not the first time he’s poked fun at his own weight, and not the last time on this album)…
…before setting an early benchmark with “Producer gave me a beat / Said it’s the beat of the year / I said, ‘El-P didn’t do it / So get the fuck out of here'”.
For his part, El-P throws in a “fully retarded” reference and apparently threatens to ‘melvin’ someone. Do your own research on that one, dear readers.
On “36 Chain” he mentions Jesus one line, hoes the next and furthermore rhymes ‘Castro’ with ‘cashflow’. Suffice it to say he’s on sparkling form.
“Sea Legs” gets underway with a tremendous, pupil-dilating wave of rising synth pad and proceeds to make Rocksucker wonder what on earth it’s got to do with the Isle of Man.
Then we looked at the title and realised they’re not saying “three legs”. Our bad.
“Job Well Done” finds Killer Mike referencing his eminent namesake Tyson and El-P bringing up dolphin rape as a going concern, “Twin Hype” sees some disturbed creation or other declaring “you look like the kind of girl I could really see myself artificially inseminating”…
…but perhaps best of all is set-closer “A Christmas Fucking Miracle”, which is every bit as mighty as its title suggests. Commanding stuff from two MCs at the top of their respective games.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!