KILLER MIKE: The work that need doing got to get done. EL-P: Personally, more so than shock, I think rap music has to be born of rebellion. Oh my god, this is so sweet. They could make Kevin Garnett’s lip quiver, bring Jordan to his knees.
run the jewels 4th album – P Announces That ‘Run The Jewels 4’ Is Dropping In 2019
El-P and Killer Mike, two of the most distinctive and celebrated names in rap, might have seemed like an unlikely pairing on paper, but the duo subverted and pulverized all expectations with their critically lauded Run The Jewels collaborative LP. Tapping into the creative synergy they’d discovered in 2012 on Mike’s R.A.P. Music album (produced by El-P) and El’s Cancer 4 Cure album (featuring Mike), Run The Jewels cemented their musical alliance with a set of uncompromisingly raw, forward thinking hip-hop, garnering limitless critical accolades including the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, XXL, SPIN, New York Times, and many more. EL-P I’m of the generation that discovered Aerosmith because of Run-DMC. They just looked crazy to me. They were the dudes in the Run-DMC video. That’s who Aerosmith was. Toys in the Attic has one of the most incredible breakbeats of all time: “Walk This Way” was a well-known break in the hip-hop world, and DJs used to loop it up. And that’s how they created that song. I hope to live long enough to be the weird-looking guy in some up-and-coming rock video one day.
Killer Mike: And the conversation doesn’t stop. The conversation is still happening in black barbershops. It’s still happening every time a black parent sends their child out to a football game on a Friday. I think the real and honest stance is that the media doesn’t care past whatever dress the next celebrity wears, and we all focus and salivate on that weird celebrity envy. Which has become the news, including spots of violence.
EL-P: It’s one of those things where you want somebody to get you and you want that person who gets you to be the nastiest rapper on the planet and that’s what happened with me and Mike. There are plenty of people who want to work with me and appreciate what I do but Mike got me. When I’m in the producer’s chair the most fulfilling thing you can have is someone to work with who’s simultaneously bringing the best out in you, who’s turning what you’re doing into magic, and vice versa. And that was just there with us from day one. And beyond that, it wouldn’t have really mattered if I didn’t just like the motherfucker and we became genuine friends. We started working together and touring together and putting records out and everything just started to unfold in an easy and enjoyable way.
That’s why a lot of dealers turn to addicts. A lot of guys in the trap, they spend the money they’re making buying another sedative, whether it be alcohol or marijuana because they realize, you know, they’re selling to their neighbors and they look like you. When you see the slow deterioration of a person over weeks, months or years, that’s not an easy thing to deal with because most of the kids selling out there are compassionate people at heart. The only ones that become really successful are damn near sociopaths.
I think that we’re tapping into a zone, and we need to hold onto that. We have got to a point in our lives where we are properly set up to be doing this, so I’m gonna keep going. I never rush anything – but when I’m inspired, shit just happens. That’s why the records have been coming quickly, and working with Mike has been great. There’s an energy between us that we’ve been able to harness, and that’s made us both a lot more productive than we were without each other. We have a lot to do, a lot on our plate, but it’s cool to have a partner in crime. Mike motivates me, and vice-versa.
It’s often mentioned how Mike and El are so much better equipped to handle success and its demands now that it’s come relatively late in their lives. What’s less often discussed is the baggage that comes along with being a fortysomething rapper (or a fortysomething anything, for that matter). The regret, the paths not taken. The feeling that you’re always neglecting loved ones. Mike and El-P face that baggage head-on.
Method Man & Redman have only two albums to their name and one of them, Blackout! has an all-time classic opening salvo in Da Rockwilder” not to mention their How High” collaboration. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince? RTJ has leapt past them, even if Summertime” is the most eternal summer rap track of all. Where in the macro of it all, where the only mainstream duo working are two brothers from Tupelo, Mississippi and are creating massive party records and cranky old timers like The LOX are still keeping the idea of a group, much less a duo alive? Killer Mike & El-P arrived at this point after having solo success on their own terms. Then they together became famous on their own terms, wrote their narrative into Marvel comics, Late Show skits with Colbert, festival stages and more. On Cali Ticketon,” they playfully question the idea of performing inside of a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
As anticipation for the megalithic rap duo’s forthcoming RTJ3 album continues to mount, Run the Jewels have announced their first full scale North American headlining tour since 2015. The Run the World” tour kicks off mid-January in Philadelphia and continues through to the end of February, with stops in veritably every major city in the US along the way. Support for the tour will be provided by Brainfeeder-affiliated hip hop experimentalist The Gaslamp Killer, mysterious underground MC Spark Master Tape, & longtime Killer Mike collaborator CUZ. Tickets go on sale this Friday, November 4th at 10am local time (with exception of New York & St. Paul which go on sale at noon). More announcements detailing worldwide tour dates are expected in the near future.
Mike and I, we feel like we can say anything because you’re in on it with us. This is not some prank we’re playing on you; we’re not attempting to trick you. If we say something outrageous, you’re going to know it’s outrageous because we intended it to be that way. I think there are rappers out there who don’t realise that their whole shit is outrageous – they’re trying to pull it over like it’s the real thing. That’s fine, but they have to realise that everyone knows what’s going on, and that’s part of why they like you. But don’t get it twisted. We’re not all falling for the fact that you thought you were this thing… We’ll decide whether it sounds good or not. And if it sounds good, then we’ll smile. We might even like the character you’re portraying. That’s all it is. It’s not what you call yourself, it’s what you do on a record, or in a book, or at a show.
In 2012 Killer Mike’s sixth album ‘R.A.P Music’ was produced by El-P, and Killer Mike in turn guested on El-P’s ‘Cancer 4 Cure’. The two hit it off and started working together as Run The Jewels, named after a lyric in LL Cool J’s ‘Cheesy Rap Blues’. The self-titled LP was recorded in woody upstate New York and a studio in Brooklyn called the Space Pit before it took its rightful place as one of the most thrilling albums of the year. Killer Mike’s Atlanta baritone drawl cuts with El-P’s sinewy flow in a monument to the power of synergy in rap. It’s frenetic, elegant and rowdy with supporting acts from Big Boi and Prince Paul. We meet in the attic of the Ninja Tune office in South London on a autumn day so windy the leaves almost blow through the window to speak about atheism, Thatcher, feminism, body image, steak, cadence and more.
I think our friendship started with us trying to wow each other with how ill we could be as MCs, but it went deeper than that very soon,” says El-P. Sure, we are artistically connected, but honestly, we are trying to figure out how to heal each other. It went from sparring in a friendly-fire kind of way, some style shit, some dope rap shit, to being how much can we create something that’s ours, that’s between us, that still works as rap music. Doing this shit has made me think about my life differently, but it’s also taken me outside myself as a writer.
When I saw Run the Jewels live in February, I remembered those words whenever Mike or El-P encouraged the crowd to reach out to each other — whether in the mosh pit or after the show. At different points, both MCs gave shout-outs to Black History Month and the Women’s March on Washington, while telling the crowd that this Trump era, though grim and disorienting, would one day pass, as did Ronald Reagan’s own Make America Great Again” campaign of misdirection, which they lived through in the 1980s. But they also said that we may not make it through this moment unless we take the time to talk to people who don’t seem, at least on the surface, to be like us: We are brothers and sisters,” the pair shouted.
KILLER MIKE: I know I’m making a bold proclamation. With that said, when Michael Jordan puts on his number 23 and walked onto the court he didn’t give a fuck about Charles Barkley, Danny Ainge, or whoever was on the other side of that ball. I have worked very hard to be paid attention to and I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I can tell the truth about how the fuck I feel about me. We are dedicated to making the most badass brash rap with purpose and message. And I can’t promise you that is every MC’s purpose today. If that, for no other reason alone, once you hear the record you’ll understand why I made that statement.
EL-P: It’s a combination of those things. I usually work on the music ahead of time. I’d do a lot of pre-production then Mike would fly out, we’d get into the studio, go through the music and then do psychedelic drugs, drink, and smoke way too much weed. Mike did more freestyle. Mike will get a couple lines down and then he gets into the zone. He keeps adding on and adding on, so it sounds really natural. I’m much more of a writer. We just sat down together and combined those things. It was really easy.
Emporium’s newest popup is being produced in collaboration with Pipeworks Brewery and iconic hip hop duo Run the Jewels The RTJ themed popup bar will run during Lollapalooza and will feature the latest beer release Stay Gold” IPA – a beer brewed by PW and Interboro NYC in collab with RTJ.
From that point on, Run the Jewels logged many a mile on the road, crisscrossing North America through March and into April, at which point they wrapped their run with Lorde and Mitski. Outside of a handful of festival dates and special events in June and July, we didn’t hear much from the duo over the summer—a new remix here, a new craft beer there—until October rolled around, and Run the Jewels teased , then released their first proper song of 2018: Let’s Go (The Royal We) ,” their contribution to the Venom soundtrack.
El-P: I don’t really know… I mean, nobody’s really thinking about this in terms of demographics. We just want to make great records, and whoever listens to them, listens to them. It’s interesting to me, now I’m in my late-‘30s, that people want to talk to me a lot more about distribution and that. But I don’t think that people are asking other motherckers this sort of question, about giving their music away for free, all the time.
RTJ’s musical sweep also has caused some crabs to carp that they’re just Rap Music For People Who Don’t Like Rap Music, which is mostly a way of saying that they have too many dilettante-ish white fans. But it’s hard to take that criticism seriously when artists from Chance the Rapper to Kendrick Lamar have gotten similar gripes after expanding their sounds, emphasizing spiritual uplift and incorporating jazz and gospel. Also, all hip-hop acts of a certain level attract both devotees and fly-by-night randos — and RTJ is at that level.
KILLER MIKE: My sister gave me the best idea in the just – ever before we went on our last tour. She said, y’all go out there, kill them, make a whole lot of money. Southern, you can tell how Southern my sister is. And then you come home and y’all just take a break from each other ’cause that’s how groups stay together. You got to miss each other.
El-P: You know why it’s getting worse? It’s getting worse because we’re farther down the timeline of human history and we are supposed to have moved past this already. Every second further that we go forward is an embarrassment. At the same time, the upside is that this record does speak something.
We have El-P’s full support going into this project, and I am in regular contact with him. If the project is funded, he will indeed create the remixed album. All backers will receive their rewards. If any problems arise I will address them here, and work diligently to correct them. I will stay in constant communication with all backers as far a production times and any other possible mishaps.
KILLER MIKE: Big Beast” was the first record we started on. GARCIA: And El-P is a vet of the New York underground, originally recorded with the trio Company Flow aka Co Flow. I loved the talks on YouTube between Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders.
The partners had first met in 1995, when a 19-year-old El-P was running his first label, Real Records, and Uzoigwe was an aspiring filmmaker, managing punk and hip-hop acts on the side. The Brooklyn kid’s business savvy stunned Uzoigwe, who had a degree in philosophy and English from the University of Michigan. He was more fascinated when he learned about the kid’s backstory: The product of a broken marriage, he’d been kicked out of two high schools (one being the prestigious Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights), earned an equivalency degree at 16, studied audio engineering at the Center for Media Arts in Manhattan, and interned with lawyer M. William Krasilovsky, the man who literally cowrote the book on the music business (This Business of Music, now in its 10th edition).
El-P: Mike and I do this for a reason. It’s not a joke. We have humor, but our involvement and our art is not a joke. In order for this to be something that we committed ourselves, it had to be that. We both as men need that from music. We need to involve ourselves in music that can be cathartic, for us as well as potentially for someone else, we need to be involved in music that touches on our hearts and souls and the things that drive us to be writers.
KILLER MIKE: Basically, I hate any question that asks me about OutKast. I’m one of their homies, but I don’t really know what they’re going to do next. I’m just like you. I don’t have the answer, and then I get kind of bummed that I don’t have the answer. Anything other than that, I’m open to.
EL-P I just like heavy music in general — from heavy rock and heavy metal and heavy rap and heavy everything. I’ve always been attracted to it. To film scores. Anything that gets to the more emotional and dark side of music, I always enjoy. I also grew up on stuff like Gang of Four and Suicide and the Melvins, the Clash, as well as all the hip-hop music that I grew up on. EPMD was heavy. Public Enemy was heavy. Ice Cube was heavy. I’ve always personally gone toward that realm. The lighter, airy smooth stuff, while I could enjoy it to a degree, it was never sort of my personal preference. The stuff that got me moving was stuff that punched you in the gut a little bit.