Run the Jewels released “RTJ4” today, two days ahead of schedule because of recent events in the US. It is available on the streaming services, but also as a free download again. You can combine the download with a donation that will go to the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Fund, a network of lawyers, legal workers, and law students providing legal support for political activists, protesters, and movements for social change.
Naturally, I spent the evening listening to the album. Both musically and lyrically, Killer Mike’s and El-P’s long-awaited fourth album is their greatest yet. The duo is arguably the best hip-hop has to offer at the moment. The combination of El-P’s powerful, multi-faceted, raw but masterfully produced beats and woke, punch-you-in-the-face lyrics full of rage makes for a unique combination. Andrew Barker puts it best in his review for Variety when he calls the music “ever mutating and nodding to hip-hop’s roots while gazing steadily forward”. Jon Dolan writes for Rolling Stone: “The lyrics are designed to shake even the most self-regardingly woke of us out of our complacency. […] The music bounces as much as it brays, with an elastic flow and deep history.”
Lately, people have been sharing the ten albums that defined their musical taste on Twitter. I haven’t participated yet. But this album is where it all leads to for me.
This is the eighth post of my 100 days of writing series. You can find a list of all posts here.