We’ve been waiting for this release for a while now, but it feels like it was just MEANT to be released at this time (they do have a knack for this!). And when we say ‘this time’, Run The Jewels ended up dropping it a couple of days early AND making it a free download considering the state of the world right now. However, while offering the album for free to those who need it is terrific, anyone is welcomed to donate money that will go to causes such as the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Program and other social justice organisations. Either way, it’s a big win with everyone enjoying the new music and over $100k raised in the first 12 hours.
What’s even better, is that the album itself is fantastic. Considering the previous three instalments, that is less of a surprise than the early release no doubt, but once again we are treated to fantastic music, the duo delivering killer lyrics over brutal beats – and each song with a message to provide. And the Zach de la Rocha feature is also just iconic and well placed.
Everything on this album works and just fits. The high energy, angry rap is a feature and it’s consistent throughout the entire offering. El-P provides a heavy, dark, energetic soundtrack to the socially charged lyrical onslaught. Even the completely different beat change on ‘Holy Calamafuck’ is bold but effective. The features are on point – particularly the Gangsta Boo verse on ‘Walking in the Snow’ which is one (of many) of the albums highlights.
This is 40 minutes of pure filth and I mean that in a great way. Not one minute is skipable in the short but substantial opus. This is provoking in every way and you need to have it in your life. I have long thought that this duo is rare and special – which they are AND continue to show it as they grow and evolve together. This album just continues that narrative. They could actually be the best duo we’ve seen since OutKast or Mobb Deep – and just as iconic and poignant for this moment in history.
Bangers: Walking in the Snow, Holy Calamafuck, Ju$t, The Ground Below
Score: 9/10. It’s practically flawless and while I still have a gut feeling that their previous joint is a touch better, this has instantly placed itself firmly in contention for the Album of the Year. Another couple of tracks would have been nice, but it’s hard to criticise this offering from Killer Mike and El-P at all. Take the time to listen, not just to the music but to the messages, the lyrics and make it matter.
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