Review: Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels

Concision is something of a forgotten entity when it comes to full length rap and hip-hop LPs. The ability to rein it in, as Kanye of all people demonstrated on his latest Yeezus, makes approaching a new album far less daunting than the all-too-common sight of there being around 17 tracks that clock in at 70 minutes plus. So for that reason, Run The Jewels a.k.a El-P and Killer Mike deserve a bit of credit straight from the off, with an honourably short tracklist of ten songs with only one breaking the four minute mark. This may all seem rather irrelevant, but when you have the artillery of El-P and Killer Mike’ s differing styles and proficient wordplay, concentrating it over a smaller length only serves to strengthen its potency rather than diluting it amidst a sea of filler and skits.

This is Mike and El-P’s second rapper-producer collaboration following last year’s outstanding R.A.P. Music, and they don’t hang about. With El-P shouldering both production duties as well as stepping up to join Mike on the mic, they immediately launch into the title track with a cohesiveness that suggests that this collaboration between two underground heroes has been years in the making, an inversion of the Watch The Throne bombast and decadence.

As ever with El-P production, the beats are fantastically innovative and dense, and would comfortably stand on their own without Mike working his magic on top.

Standout track Sea Legs showcases their duality perfectly; hard as nails but with a dose of party playfulness that belies the brutal vocal delivery.

It may seem churlish and rudimentary to simply describe the tracks found on Run The Jewels as ‘bangers’, but that’s exactly what they are, a collection of visceral head-nodders that, if anything, accelerates towards the back end with tracks such as Get It and Twin Hype Back stating a case for album highlight. As previously mentioned, the mere 33 minute runtime leaves Run The Jewels open to repeated casual listening, and a repeated listen is the very least that this excellent album deserves.

The Deluxe European Edition of Run The Jewels is now out on Big Dada

Words: Lev Harris

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