As Santa was in the midst of his run across the world, dropping off presents at the houses of kids who had been nice during 2016, Run The Jewels was delivering a present of their own. As the clock turned over from Christmas Eve to Christmas, Killer Mike and El-P decided to drop their new album RTJ3 as a surprise three weeks early for their fans.
With El-P leading the production alongside some familiar faces in Wilder Zoby and Little Shalimar, there are the tough, bombastic beats on tracks like "Legend Has It" and then darker and calmer songs like "Thieves" or "Everybody Stay Calm."
Killer Mike and El-P don't hold anything back on RTJ3. They are rebellious and political, as we have ever seen them, just in time for what could and really should be a boom for politically charged music. Killer Mike spent a fair amount of 2016 stumping for Bernie Sanders and that outsider attitude seeps into this album.
On "2100," Killer Mike states his case for not going to war and why love is the answer to bringing us all together.
"You defeat the devil when you hold onto hope / 'Cause kinfolk life is beautiful / And we ain't gotta die for them other men / And I refuse to kill another human being in the name of a government / 'Cause I don't study war no more / I don't hate the poor no more / Gettin' more ain't what's more / Only thing more is the love / So when you see me / Please greet me with a heart full / And a pound and a hug," he raps.
They bring on a wide range of special guests like Kamasi Washington, Danny Brown and Zack De La Rocha who is as angry as ever on the final indictment of the system "A Report to the Shareholders / Kill Your Masters." The album may be the most seamless of all Run The Jewels projects thus far. Songs transition effortlessly from one to the next and despite having so much to say, they show a remarkable focus on the LP.
As one expects with Run The Jewels, it is available to download for free via their website or fans can support the group by purchasing a digital copy now. They can also stream it anywhere. Physical copies will be made available in the United States on the original release date, Jan. 13 and then internationally, Jan. 20.