Last year, Killer Mike And El-P took fans by surprise with the release of their first collaborative effort. Now they're back with Run The Jewels 2, proving their chemistry wasn't a fluke. The highly anticipated album has been welcomed to much critical acclaim.
Pitchfork rated the album with a 9, naming "Blockbuster Night Part 1," "Oh My Darling Don't Cry," and "Close Your Eyes (And Count To F--k)" as standout tracks.
Otherwise, when El-P sneers, "You want a whore in a white dress/I want a wife with a thong" during "Angel Duster", it's a metaphor that implicates just about everybody in his blast radius-conservative and liberal politicians who hide their bullshit ideals behind "values," religious figures doing the same, beta-male types using performative tolerance as a front for their passive-aggressive misogyny, or just anyone who's full of shit. For Run the Jewels, these people are what cocaine was to Clipse, sex to Lil Wayne, clothing to Cam'ron-their domain, their muse, a seemingly endless source of inspiration for the most viciously realized rap album of 2014 and most other years.
XXL gave the album an "XL" rating with high marks for beats, lyrics and originality.
For people looking for soulful, melodic hip-hop, this is not the album to pick up. Neither is it one for the kids who just want to repeat two words over and over again and call it a hook while jumping up and down and punching the air repeatedly. When listening to RTJ 2, those feelings are translated into punches aimed at faces instead of spaces, and they always connect. The beats are grimy — typical of an El-P — produced project-and add even more grit to an album that doesn't ooze confidence so much as shoves you in the chest with it. Mike and El go against every acknowledged trend in hip-hop today and in that way have created their own lane, within which they have no peers. They both even manage to rap harder than former Rage Against The Machine frontman Zach De La Rocha — making a guest appearance on "Close Your Eyes (And Count To F--k)" — which would have been unimaginable for anyone to pull off 15 years ago.
HipHopDX offered up a similar review, nearly giving Run The Jewels a perfect rating with 4.5 strikes out of 5.
The egotistic pairing of KIller Mike and El-P are welcoming the challenge, undergoing the seemingly impossible task of raising their blitzkrieg social onslaught to new heights. "Jeopardy" commences with a vigorous Killer Mike flow, as he expertly navigates through El-P's intermittent synth stabs, samples, and fluctuating drum patterns, again witnessed on "All Due Respect" featuring Travis Barker. Like Madlib, an El-P instrumental is much more than a product of repetitive loops and drowning 808 kicks, making the task of rhyming over them exceedingly difficult for most emcees. But Run The Jewels' inherent chemistry makes the whole process seem flawless, as is the case with the engaging, vacillating flows of Killer Mike on "Jeopardy." "Blockbuster Night Part 1" commences with a gritty, heavy metal aura as Killer Mike exponentially showcases his high-octane pugnacity with myriad quotes: "Last album voodoo, proved that we was fucking brutal / I'm talking crazy, half past the clock is cuckoo / You rappers doo-doo, baby shit, just basic doo-doo." The pair employ the Meth-and-Red strategy, passing their mic patons back and forth to solidify one of the most standout tracks from the album.
Run The Jewels 2 is available for download here.