Album Review: Run the Jewels – RTJ3

#aotd is RTJ3 by Run the Jewels. RTJ3 continues this super duo’s prosperous run of Hardcore Hip-Hop albums backed by dense beats and politically conscious lyricism. After years of destroying the underground Hip-Hop scene, Killer Mike and El-P finally gained the recognition they deserved through the incredible success of their combined project, Run the Jewels. The recipe to this duo’s success is still prevalent in their third outing, this recipe being the eclectic hard-hitting production from El-P and engaging lyrics impeccably delivered with frenzied bars. RTJ3 builds on top of this formula rather than rebuilding it. Tracks like “Thursday in the Danger Room” wind-back on the aggression that has driven Run the Jewel’s most memorable material in favour of a slower beat accented by Kamasi Washington’s saxophone and the duo’s mournful lyrics. Perhaps the best example of this new style comes on “Thieves (Screamed the Ghost)” which looks to explain the root of the recent spout of police brutality related riots. The song itself is driven by distorted piano line and skittering percussion which gives Mike and El plenty of room to drop some of their most potent lyrical bombs yet. Not that this album lacks in bombast, the Danny Brown featuring “Hey Kids (Bumaye)” simultaneously calls out our corporate overlords as well as Hip-Hop’s ignorant junior ranks with a crushing instrumental and back to back bars. While the more reserved stylings of RTJ3 is a welcome switch-up it is implemented awkwardly over the entirety of the album. The opening moments of the album are awkwardly paced as the fairly neutral “Down” makes way for the banger “Talk to Me” which would have made for a much better opener. These pacing issues return as the album enters its final few tracks which is noticeably lacking in the intensity present in the preceding tracks. RTJ3 sees Killer Mike and El-P continue their winning streak of albums with plenty of the grime fans have come to love with a welcome serve of restraint to keep us on our toes.Rating: 4/5

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