Throw your hands in the air
And wave ‘em like you just don’t care
Keep ‘em there
Run the jewels, run the jewels, run the jewels.
LL Cool J, Cheesy Rat Blues
Rap is one of the few music genres that I don’t really care for.
When I heard that a group called Run The Jewels had released a new album that was available for free, and that people were raving about it, I had to check out just to hear for myself whether it was that good or not.
Aggressive lyrics. Arrogant. Obscenities galore. Cockiest artists I have ever heard.
But I liked the music.
Personally, I think rap music has to be born of rebellion. It has to, because no one ever gave shit to rap music. Rap music deserves truth and it deserves spontaneity. For rap music to continue to live, it needs a burst of rebellion and that can come in many, many different forms. It depends on what’s going on around you. There’s no right or wrong way to do that.
Listening to it the first time through, I wasn’t entirely sure what to think. The music is unlike anything I regularly listen to. If it had popped up on Spotify, my first reaction would have been to hit the Skip button. The violent language strikes you quick and hard, the beats underneath capture your body, and suddenly you are trapped. Your mind wants to refuse the music, but your body allows you to enjoy it.
Hypnotic. When you reach the third track, Blockbuster Night Part 1, you are done. Run With Jewels has you ensnared into their music and you will find yourself listening to this album more than once.
This Run The Jewels is, murder, mayhem, melodic music
Psychotics use it then lose it, junkies simply abuse it
That’s word to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I’m pushin coffin
I probably smell like a pound when they put me in a coffin
The gates of hell are pugnaciously pacing waitin’
I give a fuck if I’m late, tell Satan be patient
But I ain’t here for durations, I’m just taking vacations
And tell ’em fuck ’em, I never loved ’em and salutations
Listening to the lyrics on the album, you can see the influences coming from everywhere. References to other rappers, lyrical references to lines from classic hip hop songs, cultural references from actors to old school WWF, and life in New York City, where Run The Jewels are from. The rebellious language that EL-P aims for is spread throughout, attacking other rappers for the lack of musical value they provide or provoking other African-Americans to finally rise up to the police.
Their music is definitely not for everyone. If you despise rap music, you will not enjoy this. But if you approach it with an open mind and enjoy taking apart the lyrics to understand what is happening, you likely will appreciate it, if not enjoy it.
Best of all, Run The Jewels has released the album for free on their site. Download, listen and allow yourselves to be swallowed up by the lyrical power of Run The Jewels.