Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Run The Jewels, Run The Jewels 3, 2016

Album Review

by Ken Geiger

Run The Jewels officially managed to ruin every album list maker's Christmas by dropping this bombshell of a record (But, since it physically comes out in 2017, I'll count it in my 2017 favorites.). But how can we really be mad at them? This is fucking Run The Jewels, the rap duo of Killer Mike and El-P, who have been killing it in the political rap game for years now. Their first two records were solid, but I always thought they were capable of something greater (which may be hard for their fans to believe). Run The Jewels 3 not only answered my thoughts about Run the Jewels' being able to achieve an even higher level of greatness in their sound, but it also shut me the hell up and took me for one last wild ride of 2016.

Instrumentally, this album is just brutal and relentless. Songs like "Talk to Me" and "Hey Kids" have beats that leave me feeling like I was just beaten over the head with a shovel for the whole duration of the song. Even the more somber tracks such as "2100" and "Everybody Stay Calm" are so dark that they still give the listener the same kind of chills as the more bombastic cuts. This is not a record for the ears of a rap fan who digs the kind of music you hear on Top 40. Hell, there are some hardcore and metal bands who probably wish they could write songs that go this hard.

Run The Jewels, on the lyrical side, is extremely political (I mean, Killer Mike hangs out with Bernie Sanders. That should be a dead giveaway.). Given the year we just had, you'd assume they have much to discuss, and oh boy do they ever. While the Donald Trump jabs are shockingly few, Killer Mike and El-P make up for it with many dark and humorous tellings of police corruption, bigotry, and a revolution of the people through the album's songs. I have to mention that their flows on this record really stood out to me, especially El-P's. I couldn't help but have chills run down my spine every time he would take the mic and come out red hot.

Overall, Run The Jewels 3 shows the group at their strongest to date, both musically and lyrically. Definitely was the best Christmas gift I was given this year, and a great way to start off 2017.

The best song on this record? Probably "Everybody Calm Down," which is filled with some great minimalistic instrumentation that is accompanied by kickass flows from both Killer Mike and El-P.

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