Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels 2

In the wake of Michael Brown’s death, Run the Jewels became the unlikely musical duo standing in the news media crosshairs. As the son of an Atlanta policeman and one half of a black guy/white guy rap duo, Killer Mike seemed an obvious spokesperson for folks wondering what was going on in the South. But it’s Mike’s role as a father, husband, and former “troubled youth” that’s made his post-Ferguson commentary so gripping. That Run the Jewels’ fan base has grown alongside these nationwide social tensions is no coincidence; together El-P and Killer Mike make music that speaks at and for the disenfranchised masses. On 2, the pair returns with an album that’s every bit as incendiary as its predecessor; the production is glitchy, percussive, and agitated; the lyrics expertly toe the line between unapologetically bombastic and playfully mischievous. In one moment early on in the track list, El-P spits a line about how his haters can “all run backwards through a field of dicks.” It happens so fast you can’t help but do a double take, and when you replay it, you can practically hear his rascally smile in the background. According to El and Mike, Run the Jewels was created as a release, a way for fans to get worked up, then freak out and let go of the stress and chaos that seems to be perpetually swirling around our collective existence. But 2 also makes its listeners think, feel, smile, and understand the guy next to them a little bit more. Call it timing, call it fate, but it’s starting to feel as if Run the Jewels showed up right when we needed them most.

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