Metal Blog Approved: Run The Jewels Release “RTJ2”
The Toilet Ov Hell is a blog about metal, right? Edward, damn it all to hell. We have been over this. Oh, sure guys. Sorry. In News You May Have Missed but Absolutely Must Know About Right Now, the Toilet Ov Hell is happy to bring you this announcement. Run The Jewels leaked the sequel to their 2013 self titled Run The Jewels, RTJ2. Run The Jewels, a collaboration between rapper/producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike, was well received and highly praised by the popular media, hip hop heads, and the heavy metal blogosphere. Run The Jewels introduced us to their (fire)brand of confrontational, throwback, intellectual hip hop. Fans were given news of a sequel, expected to drop in 2014 on October 27th. It leaked preemptively, so in a modern attempt to combat low quality music, El-P and Killer Mike released the real album in the wee hours of the a.m. on Friday, October 24th.
A direct link to RTJ2 was released via Run The Jewels’ website, major media outlets like Spin Magazine, Twitter, and spread on the internet like wildfire. I received this news via a rather archaic method, a text message from my BFF. I stopped what I was doing (playing BF4 on PS4, I had the day off work; also my KD is pretty weak) and rushed to my laptop to download and hear the new album.
Initial impressions? RTJ2 improves upon the excellent Run The Jewels, to no one’s surprise. Album opener “Jeopardy” begins with a brief spoken word/shout from Killer Mike; he raps first over a slow, woozy synth laden beat. El-P joins the party after two minutes on the first track. What worked so well on Run The Jewels continues here, these rappers compliment each other well, it’s hard to imagine this is only their second effort together, other than a feature here or there, and El-P’s production on Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music. “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” opens with tinny robotic voices reminiscent of El-P’s “Drones Over Brooklyn” before the beat drops. “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” transforms into something chaotic before the song’s finish, like artificial intelligence gone berserk. “Blockbuster Night Part 1” opens with a direct steady drum. The production, provided by El-P, leads Killer Mike and El-P through eleven tracks of party jams, fvck the police verses, gritty sex anthems, and the piano key laced closer “Angel Dusters”. These emcees reference the group name throughout, choruses, chants, and lyrics feature “run the jewels”, a reference to stick ups and old school New York hip hop. The lyrics also feature attacks on the powers that be, like El-P on “Blockbuster Night Part 1” raps, the fellows at the top are likely rapists / but you’re like mellow out just relax its really not that complicated. Rage Against The Machine’s Zack De La Rocha is featured on the album’s fourth track, “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)”, both on the hook and rapping a verse. Anyone remember when El-P and DJ Shadow were rumored to produce a full length rap album from Zach De La Rocha? It never materialized, but it was a cool surprise to see De La Rocha’s name on the credits here. The Coup’s Boots Riley is featured here too, credited as BOOTS on the album’s seventh track, “Early”. RTJ2 also features Travis Barker, Diane Coffee, and Gangsta Boo. The album’s sixth track, “Lie, Cheat, Steal”, opens with a menacing synth, later, Killer Mike calls himself a mixture of MJG and the Weathermen.
What doesn’t work here? Not much. Don’t mistake me, I am a fan of succinct music well done, but, one drawback is the album’s brief run time. Like its predecessor, RTJ2 is eleven brief tracks that blow by and leave you wanting more (Run The Jewels was ten brief tracks). I enjoy the last track here, “Angel Dusters”, but it lacks the same grand closing as Run The Jewels final track, “A Christmas Fucking Miracle”, which featured an absolute standout verse from El-P. Small complaints for an outstanding hip hop album released for free, and delivered directly to me on a Friday morning. If history is any indicator of future events, expect to see this on a lot of metal site’s end of the year lists.
You can download RTJ2, for free (that’s $0.00), on Run The Jewels’ website with an email address.
Run The Jewels have hit the road this fall/winter. I have seen El-P live twice, and Run The Jewels in support of their debut album. I have not been disappointed. Despot is yet to release one of my last greatly anticipated hip hop albums, his long awaited debut. Check out the rest of these dates and catch these boys on the road if you get the opportunity. I will be in attendance at the Minneapolis date.
10-31 Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts *#
11-01 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club *#
11-02 Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater *#
11-03 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle *#
11-04 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade *#
11-06 Dallas, TX – Trees *#
11-07 Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest
11-08 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s *#
11-10 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom *#
11-11 La Jolla, CA – Porters Pub *#
11-12 Pomona, CA – Glass House *#
11-14 San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine #
11-15 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater *#
11-17 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge *#
11-18 Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre *#
11-20 Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafè *#
11-21 Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre *#
11-22 Chicago, IL – Metro *#
11-25 Detroit, MI – St Andrews Hall *#
11-26 Toronto, Ontario – Danforth Music Hall *#
11-27 Montreal, Quebec – Club Soda *#
11-28 Boston, MA – Paradise *#
11-29 New York, NY – Stage 48 *#
12-30 Lorne, Australia – Falls Festival
12-31 Marion Bay, Australia – Falls Festival
01-01 Sydney, Australia – Field Day
01-02 Byron Bay, Australia – Falls Festival
01-04 Busselton, Australia – Southbound Festival
01-07 Sydney, Australia – Enmore Theatre @
01-08 Melbourne, Australia – The Forum @
01-10 Auckland, New Zealand – Town Hall @
* with Ratking
# with Despot
@ with Joey Bada$$
Stay Void, Toilet.