Run The Jewels are ready for the revolution with latest release


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Miguel Modesto

Run The Jewels has released a new project called RTJ4 — a string of tracks that have interconnecting themes which speak to the anger behind the issues that plague present day American society.

From the first few moments of the album, Run The Jewels lets you know that RTJ4 is the culmination of all the work that came before it. In the 2010s, Run The Jewels, composed of Killer Mike and El-P, released three hip-hop projects that garnered attention from many in the rap game. Their work addresses issues that are relevant to their fans and their new project, RTJ4, is the climax of the year.

On tracks like “walking in the snow,” Killer Mike raps about the systemic hurdles that people of color must face and points out the repetitive cycle which amounts to nothing but a sympathetic tweet by those who claim to be woke.

On the track “JU$T,” Killer Mike discusses how American society struggles to grapple with a racist history by pointing out the glorification of former slave masters that have contributed to the foundation of this country, calling out, “Look at all these slave masters posing on your dollar.”

It is blunt and frank, however, it is never shoved down your throat. Instead, the lyrics are meant to start a dialogue or give commentary on the state of the country.

With the help of Josh Homme from Queens of The Stone Age, El-P does a fantastic job of wrapping all the songs together cohesively with stellar production. The opening track “yankee and the brave (ep. 4)” feels like the introduction to an action film in the form of a rap song. It is the perfect introduction that seamlessly transitions to “ooh la la,” which has a fantastic piano riff that is reminiscent of ’90s hip-hop.

The tracks with the best production sometimes don’t even have anything extravagant. The track “JU$T” is so stripped back and catchy thanks to Pharrell Williams’s vocals. On “out of sight,” the beat bumps so hard and would make any true hard-core hip-hop fan drool. The first leg of the album hooks listeners in and catches ears instantly.

The album also benefits from the wide range of artists that are featured in the track listing. 2 Chainz makes an appearance on “out of sight” and contributes with a verse that adds his own style which provides nice variety.

On “pulling the pin,” listeners hear raw vocals from Mavis Staples, creating emotion, depth and a sense of vulnerability to a track that incorporates faith in a conversation about having the will to make changes in society. It evokes the perfect build up for the final track on the album.

There are so many lines on this album that will speak to a variety of listeners on a personal level due to how outspoken Killer Mike and El-P are. Over the last four years, Killer Mike has been at the forefront of the grassroots movements for social, economic and racial change.

With civil unrest reaching a tipping point, his messages are more relevant now than ever. It is a sign of great things to come for Run The Jewels. It is one of the hardest releases of the year and in a way, it is almost a mandatory listen.

In the last few months of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic unveiled the inequalities that plague American society. This includes the lack of healthcare, poverty, housing discrimination, racial injustice and more societal issues that Killer Mike and Run The Jewels have been rapping about for years. The passion in every verse of every song found on RTJ4 is the anthem of the protests that have been marching on the streets for equality. As a result, RTJ4 goes beyond hip-hop and it recognizes its significance in giving a voice for those who need to be heard.