Tuesdays With Hip Hop: Killer Mike and EL-P “Run The Jewels”

newtuedays

Back from Chongqing in one piece. A full treatment on that bizarro trip coming soon, still sorting out what happened in thirty-six sleepless, mad, surreal hours. Until then, let’s get back on track with Tuesday’s usual frequent hip hop offering.

Atlanta’s Killer Mike and New York’s EL-P’s new “Run The Jewels” collaboration carried me through a loathsome bus ride from ShengWan HK to the Shenzhen airport. That slow, underestimated crossing cost me one flight that I can refund only by “going to Taobao,” China’s eBay.

But June 2013, what a month for rap! EL-P and Killer Mike brought ’88 back through a technicolor ruffneck-Orwellian lens on this one. So much verbal interplay between two veterans who just attack EL-P beats that slam like boom-bap dubstep and grime. Crazy dense verses that you have to rewind and think about for a second as opposed to generic-albeit-effective lyrics on DJ Mustard produced tracks feat. Tyga, etc. Run The Jewels’ raps are often amazing and too bothersome to dictate. UK slang popping up on this one “actin aggy talkin bout he plexed.”

Run The Jewels – 36″ Chain

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I hope we’re in an era of great, short rap albums like this and Yeezus. Remember when rappers had like twenty songs per album and at least half sucked? No Limit Records was notorious for this. The ADD/You-Tube generation has infinitely more choices and avenues for music than mine did – basically ain’t nobody got time for that in the 4G era, unlike back in ’96 and that was one your six rap CDs on steady rotation in a Sony alarm clock or Discman like damn why is DMX so angry that he made six skits just yelling. About ten tracks or less is golden for a great album.

With a much, much smaller segment of the population buying physical music, compared to fifteen years ago, it’s better to launch a solid product like this, then line up the tour and merch and cake $$$gzzzz.  A-Trak’s label Fool’s Gold released the album for free download but serious fans can buy the vinyl, CD, herb grinder, or T-shirt, and Run The Jewels launch a US/Canada tour on July 10th. Sadly no Michigan date but they’re at the Pitchfork festival in Chicago. Really simple and effective website design too. Exemplary.

If you like this, check out Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music (2012), also produced by EL-P.

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