Run the Jewels 3: Run the Jewels, Inc./RED Review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels 3

Run the Jewels, Inc./RED

Feb 07, 2017 Run the Jewels Bookmark and Share

There’s no denying that Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike and El-P are a dynamic rap duo, but their new album, Run the Jewels 3, is also notable for the additional artists that they recruited to guest on some of these pummeling 14 tracks.

For instance on “Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost),” Mike chillingly whispers his verses about getting a pound of flesh, while TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe uses his buttery voice on the chorus, making for a compelling contrast. The sour whining of the tight horn sample on “Thursday in the Danger Room” is none other than star trumpeter Kamasi Washington (who has worked with other rap giants like Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg). Rising indie rap star Danny Brown offers a reliably zany verse on “Hey Kids (Bumaye),” while veteran MC Trina gives her trademark attitude to “Panther Like a Panther (Miracle Mix)” (although it would have been great to hear her lay down more bars on a verse of her own).

Most attention grabbing of all those guests (much like this album’s predecessor) is a guest verse from Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha on “A Report to the Shareholders / Kill Your Masters.” Over scattershot percussion he spits heart-stopping lines like “we’re faceless, but dignified and you can’t erase this.”

Impressive as all that guest work is though, the album’s starring duo are never outshined. El-P (an revered producer who is also an underrated MC) spits brain bendingly original lines about his sneakers being “cleaner than nunnery pussy evening of Easter” on “Panther Like a Panther (Miracle Mix),” before Mike describes getting vengeance on “the kingdoms that killed the dreams of the dreamers.” More glorious tongue twisting lines can be found on “2100,” where Mike rhymes “Kalashnikov” with “popping off” before (more laudably) spitting about being “walked on like a dirty rug” and then pinning for what he’s “worthy of.” Such moments of vulnerability are jolting surprises on an album so full of aggressive beats, rhymes, and an overall brazenly brawny tone. Prime examples include “Oh Mama,” where Mike recounts how his mother told him not to curse at her as a boy, before throwing a dinner plate; and “Thursday in the Danger Room,” where Mike and El-P trade verses about hardship and blessings.

Such complexities not only make RTJ3 the most accomplished chapter in the duo’s trilogy of LPs, but will also leave fans eagerly awaiting the next installment in what’s proving to be one of hip-hop’s most boldly distinctive discographies. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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