Published on February 14th, 2017 | by Boman12l0
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3 [Review]
Run The Jewels 3 is Killer Mike’s and El-Ps best album, but at the same time its not Run The Jewels 2. Let’s try to make sense of that. Over the past four years, Hip-Hop’s most unlikely duo became Hip-Hop’s best duo. In this time, they have been compared to everyone from Ice Cube and The Bomb squad, UGK, The Weathermen and Public Enemy, rightfully so. Their two previous albums, plus several world tours have sharpened Run the Jewels into one of the best acts in all of music currently. That craft and refinement is evident all over Run The Jewels 3.
RTJ2 was a record filled with showmanship, shit talking, anger, conspiracies, attacks on all established institutions government and religious, sex and violence. Mike and El where at moments the most disrespectful to any fuckboys that tried them and the most humble to anyone looking for redemption. RTJ2 foreshadowed the widening political gap and increasingly violent relationship between the masses and people in power. RTJ2 captured all of this and was unquestionably one of the best albums off 2014. RTJ3 is more RTJ2, if only, a little less punchy.
At 14 tracks and 51 minutes in length, Run The Jewels 3 is El’s and Mike’s biggest release. The songs here are longer, they feature El-P and Killer Mike trading bars and finishing each other’s line more precisely. The sequencing has never been more seamless. Songs effortlessly transition into one another. Run The Jewels 3 is the most complete album experience in their discography.
This is not to say Run The Jewels 3 is a bad or a weaker album, far from it. El-P’s production is still designed to crush the Brownstones of Brooklyn. Instead of trying to lay you out with one knockout punch, Run The Jewels 3 hits you with multiple hard shots to the body. “Legend Has It” knocks in its lyrics and production. The images invoked are absurd, brash and hilarious. El-P boast “I became famous for flaming you Fucks/ mamin’ my way through the brush” while Mike closes things out with a promise “Warranty plus for fucking shit up.” “Panther like A Panther (Miracle Mix)” is an assault on all things pious with El-P and Mike trying one up each other, while the chorus featuring Trina boldly, proudly and rightfully proclaims “I’m the shit!” “Take it Easy” features an 808 beat that is easy to get lost in but could still blow out a window at high volume.
It’s not all shit talking and high speed shootouts down highways. Run The Jewels 3 features some of the duos most charged works yet. “Thieves (Screamed The Ghost” gives life to a riot. Re-animating its disenfranchised voices and the factors that birthed it in the first place. “2100” is either a bleak look into the future or a scary reflection of the present “How long before the hate that we hold Lead us to another Holocaust? Mike opens up with while El-P breaks down how unfair fight is “They don’t give a shit, not at all They don’t even want to let you take a little piss in a pot.” Still, the two don’t give into disappear, pushing forward with the good fight. However, nothing can prepare you for “Thursday in the Danger Room” perhaps Run The Jewels’ most personal song to date. El-P struggles with experiencing one of his best friends (Perhaps Camu Tao) die from a sickness. El-P’s verse is one of most brutally honest reflections put to record:
“Like how do you look in the eyes of a friend and not cry when you know that they’re dying? How do you feel ’bout yourself when you know that sometimes you had wished they were gone? Not because you didn’t love ’em but just because you felt too weak to be strong?”
God damn, that’s heavy. Thematically similar, Mike verse deals with a family trying to cope with death of a father, a son, a husband after a senseless crime. Still, even after being at a loss of words to comfort the family, Mike finds the strength to forgive the killer and hopes he find peace. “Thursday in the Danger” is Run the Jewels at their most human, its title implies an almost a normality to these reoccurring tragedies, but thus is life. The album ends with two part Run the Jewels gut punch/manifesto “A Report to the Shareholders: Kill Your Masters,” once again featuring Zack de la Rocha for a killer verse.
Run The Jewels was an experiment in the lost art of shit talking. Run The Jewels 2 was an explosion of political, hard hitting rap that just banged during a time of great unrest in America. Run The Jewel 3 is a refinement of both of those previous albums. It does not hit as hard because we are used to El and Mike’s hits now. El-P and Killer Mike are a well-seasoned tag team. We know all their big spots; however that does not mean they didn’t give us a match of the year contender. We expect them to do that.