RTJ2

Album Review of RTJ2 by Run the Jewels.

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RTJ2

Run the Jewels

RTJ2 by Run the Jewels

Release Date: Oct 27, 2014
Record label: Mass Appeal
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Southern Rap, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap, Hardcore Rap

86 Music Critic Score
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RTJ2 - Excellent, Based on 27 Critics

Slant Magazine - 100
Based on rating 5.0/5
100

Last year's Run the Jewels was a rare beast of an album that married barreling industrial beats with chest-pounding shit-talk imbued with a lyrical playfulness that read like an angrier update of Big Daddy Kane's stylish but forceful bravado. For the follow-up, Killer Mike and El-P could have merely rehashed their sound and still delivered what many would have considered the best rap album of the year, albeit in a less-than-stellar year for the genre. Mike immediately dispels any notion of phoning it in with a Ray Lewis-style pump-up speech: “I'm gonna bang this bitch the fuck out!” And bang he does: Run The Jewels 2 not only resumes the lyrical onslaught of its predecessor, but expands the duo's purview both thematically and sonically.

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Under The Radar - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

"I'm gonna bang this bitch the fuck out," yells Killer Mike before the opening track of Run the Jewels 2. It serves as a mission statement for the entire album—who knows what these guys are angry at, exactly (possible targets include the government, other rappers, "fuck boys," and anyone who has ever overlooked them), or if their lathered delivery is just two guys at the height of their abilities daring one another to go farther, but damn if Run the Jewels 2 isn't a monster of an album. Even the single time the album really flirts with tired misogyny ("Love Again") is spun on its head with a colossally raunchy verse from female rapper Gangsta Boo that offers some equality to the whole affair.

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musicOMH.com - 90
Based on rating 4.5
90

Hip Hop is dead. Hip hop is cliched. Hip Hop isn’t Hip Hop. These arguments have been around since DJ Kool Herc‘s first successor, and probably will never fully die. Hip Hop is, and always has been, in a state of constant evolution. There have been moments where the course of the mainstream ….

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PopMatters - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

Nobody doubted that Killer Mike and El-P would make a good team. Both are underground veterans from cities—Atlanta and New York, respectively—where indie hip-hop has had to fight to be heard over their behemoth major label counterparts, and both have made jaded dystopian anger their pose of choice. Michael Render handpicked El, née Jaime Meline, to produce 2012’s R.A.P.

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New Musical Express (NME) - 90
Based on rating 4.5/5
90

When Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike became a leading voice in black America’s condemnation of August’s Ferguson crisis, hoisted onto CNN and Fox News to discuss the police murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown as riots flared across the Missouri city, he described having “no new words to express my feelings and fear for the people of this country. ” Maybe he felt he’d used them all already. This was, after all, the exact sort of chaos at the hands of oppressive state forces he and rapper-producer accomplice El-P have long been predicting the nation would soon succumb to: from Mike’s furious ‘RAP Music’ solo album standout ‘Reagan’ (“police terrorize whoever/mostly black boys, but they would call us niggers”) to El-P’s booming 2012 dystopian rap fable ‘Drones Over Brooklyn’.

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Pitchfork - 90
Based on rating 9.0/10
90

Trigger warning: If you or someone you love is a fuckboy, do yourself a favor and steer clear of Run the Jewels 2. You will not like what you hear. Here’s a brief, but nearly complete list of people who are exempt, as handed down by El-P and Killer Mike on RTJ2: Malcolm X, UGK (Pimp C posthumously given the Lifetime Achievement Award), MJG, the Weathermen (both the hip-hop and militant factions), Gangsta Boo, Scarface (that's Brad Jordan, Al Pacino's is noticeably absent here), Zack De La Rocha, Biggie, 2Pac, Nas (ca.

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Exclaim - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

Until tracked down and handcuffed by something better to listen to, Run the Jewels have seized the crown of Best Rap Album of 2014 and sped off, getaway-style, into the black night. All we're left with as listeners is slack jaws and fishtailed rubber skid-marks on our psyches.Don't get it twisted: Run the Jewels 2 is not just a mechanism for experienced emcees from two of hip-hop's most creative hubs — El-P (Brooklyn) and Killer Mike (Atlanta) — to increase their individual fan bases or kill time between solo projects. The group is the thing.

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Paste Magazine - 90
Based on rating 9.0/10
90

Functional hip-hop duos are a rarity these days. It takes work to balance out strong personalities that have a lot to say. It makes you respect what a group like OutKast accomplished, and it explains the appeal of Killer Mike and El-P on last year’s ambitious Run The Jewels debut album. Hip hop hadn’t been this fun in a long time, and RTJ made it even more fun by offering their album for free.

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RapReviews.com - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

Run the Jewels :: Run the Jewels 2Mass Appeal RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonOh my darling - don't cry. Run the Jewels, the initially unlikely duo of indie darling El-P and Southern rap heavyweight Killer Mike, took the hip-hop scene by storm in 2013 with an album that was released free digitally and for a nominal fee physically. It turned out to be the classic hip-hop odd couple, as El-Producto's penchant for futuristic beats and linguistic inventiveness (who else rhymes "blunderbuss" with "thunderous") were perfectly met by Michael Render's ATLien swagger and street smart reality.

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HipHopDX - 90
Based on rating 4.5/5
90

Run The Jewels may have began as some spontaneous idea between two talented, veteran musicians, but the unlikely pairing of Killer Mike and El-P quickly blossomed into more than the sum of its parts. In 2014, the Drake’s, Pusha T’s, and J.Cole’s unsurprisingly blessed fans with replay-value gems, but Run The Jewels’ debut effort rapidly rose to the ranks of Album of The Year qualifications across the board. The secret is out now—Killer Mike and El-P have carved out a shrewd niche of their own, and defying the laws of musical gravity, the stakes are raised even further with their latest project.

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AllMusic - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

There are those Jagger/Richards, Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis, or DJ Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince-styled collaborations that always seem fruitful. The music created by Killer Mike and El-P easily falls into this category, and is closest to that of Jeff and Prince's, not just because the duo fall under the same category of "hip-hop" but also because Run the Jewels 2, like its predecessor, comes with some joy baked in. It's a broken, ironic, and underground kind of joy as the hard-hitting "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" shows its pimp-hand with "You can all run naked backwards through a field of dicks" and also shows its business card because "You're in luck, it says I do two things: rap and fuck.

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Consequence of Sound - 86
Based on rating A-
86

Remember in Terminator 2: Judgment Day when the T-800 was reprogrammed and sent back in time to protect John Connor from the T-1000, the newer, shapeshifting model that was hellbent on killing the future of humanity? Run the Jewels 2 may as well have been called Run the Jewels 2: Judgment Day because it follows a very similar trajectory. After El-P and Killer Mike came at us with their futuristic, dystopian debut as Run the Jewels, they’re back for round two to deliver a grenade launcher to the chest of any and all fuckboys and fakes. Friendly to their dedicated following and as pissed off as humanly possible at the dissenters, Run the Jewels are exactly what the rap game — and the human race — needs.

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The Guardian - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

In the past three years, American rappers El-P and Killer Mike have become the talk of what might have been known as alternative hip-hop. One is from the east coast, the other is southern; one’s white and the other’s black. Their style is also a fusion – of El-P’s abrasive, experimental New York styling with Mike’s smooth, almost laconic, Atlanta flow.

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Rolling Stone - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

On their second album as Run the Jewels, noise-loving Brooklyn rapper-producer El-P and Atlanta's Killer Mike make the most explosive hip-hop you'll hear all year. The best tracks give criminal-minded menace a radical edge: "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" is a prison-riot fantasy, and on the blazing "All Due Respect," Mike hints at the roots of his messed-up ways: "Got left with a gun and a pit-bull terrier/And a note from my dad said I hope God carry ya." It's proof that there's heart lurking beneath their many-splendored "fuck you." .

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Drowned In Sound - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

“You know your favourite rapper ain’t shit, and me I might be. ” That one line, from ‘Jeopardy’, sums up pretty neatly what it is about Run the Jewels that has come to capture the imagination of not only the hip-hop community, but the wider world of alternative music, too. It’s hardly the most arresting lyric on the record, but it at once both encapsulates one of the great hallmarks of the genre - aggressive competitiveness - and calls out how stale it’s become, too.

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DIY Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Not even a swarm of disease-ridden, flame-breathing monster cats could match the intensity of this record. So don’t even try, ‘Meow the Jewels’. ‘RTJ2’ has that shit covered. This hammerhead shot of adrenaline never needs recharging. Pumped on passion, politics and breakneck production ….

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Sputnikmusic - 76
Based on rating 3.8/5
76

Review Summary: Big up, big up, it's a stick up, stick up.Ambition is supposed to be a young man’s game. Decades into illustrious careers, Killer Mike and El-P, both standing on the precipice of 40, have conquered the fickle tendencies of hip-hop fans worldwide in their respective niches – Mike with his dirty South Dungeon Family foundation, and Jaime in his tradition of extraterrestrial underground hits. Logically, these two underground juggernauts should be stuck in the mud, rehashing the glory days to middling success a la every other once-icon of rap.

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Tiny Mix Tapes - 50
Based on rating 2.5/5
50

Run the Jewels 2 opens with Killer Mike promising to “bang this bitch the fuck out;” it’s not much of a spoiler to reveal that he and El-P deliver on that promise. RTJ2 has received near-unanimous acclaim, and in fact, according to aggregate scores, it’s been evaluated as the best record of either artist’s career. Whether or not that’s true, RTJ2 is certainly more consistently entertaining than its predecessor.

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Austin Chronicle
Their review was outstandingly favourable

Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal) Old-school bully rap remains alive and well through the epically devastating efforts of Georgia bulldog Michael Render and former Def Jux prez Jaime Meline. Killer Mike and El-P are Run the Jewels, possibly the most unlikely duo-slash-redemption story in rap. Equipped with ill-intentioned flows and El-P's desire to run innocents down with Bomb Squad-influenced bass truck, Run the Jewels 2 gut-punches the competition into second place.

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The A.V. Club
Their review was extremely favourable

Nearly two decades after rocking the underground realm with Funcrusher Plus, El-P has cut down on his dense cultural references and mile-a-minute musical approach to make way for accessibility. This gave Killer Mike enough room to slip in and form the much lauded bad-guy duo Run The Jewels. Instead of hustling to catch up to El-P’s sonic debris, Mike’s booming voice positions itself in the center of the maelstrom.

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The Line of Best Fit
Their review was very positive

Run The Jewels 2 starts as it means to go on, and I don’t just mean Killer Mike’s motivational speech that signals the start of “Jeopardy”. I’m talking the deep bass, blaring percussion and wired guitar that underpins Mike’s flaming verses and El-P’s conversational rhymes on that opening track….what RTJ2 lacks in sheer brutality, it makes up in the depth and avant-complexity that peppered El-P’s time with Company Flow and Def Jux. Run The Jewels are back, and they’re better than before.

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Los Angeles Times
Their review was very positive

Run the Jewels is the team of two indie titans, El-P and Killer Mike, who have upended convention by remaining idealistically true, artistically adventurous and creatively emboldened well into their second decade as rapper-producers. The pair's second album, released as a free download last week, proves it 11 times over. As smart as it is sonically imaginative and unpredictable, "Run the Jewels 2" proves the team's debut was less a fluke than a portent.

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Pretty Much Amazing
Their review was very positive

opinion byBRENDAN FRANK Michael Render and Jaime Meline; Killer Mike and El-P: two rappers on the brink of middle age, transmitting diamond-hard rap bangers from some freaky dystopian future. They’re here to warn you, and they’re here to rupture your eardrums. RTJ2, the duo’s second outing as Run the Jewels, picks up exactly where its predecessor left off, using El-P’s slash-and-burn productions as a battle ground for some of the most enthralling verbal wars you’ll hear all year.

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The Quietus
Their review was positive

I'm not one to decry the materialistic nature of mainstream hip hop. When delivered with appropriate energy and flair – like on Drake's 'All Me', or Migos' 'Versace' – it can provide an exhilarating contact high of self-esteem, an egomania-by-proxy that tingles the spine. But when listening to this incredible second effort from the indie-rap two-headed dragon Run The Jewels, I do mourn something that has taken a back seat in the genre ever since Puff Daddy started recording songs that were about how recording songs was all about money.

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XXL
Their review was positive

Anyone searching for some deep, hidden meaning behind Killer Mike and El-P’s new Run The Jewels 2 album is trying too hard; just over a minute into album opener “Jeopardy,” Mike spells it out as plainly as he can. “So fuck you fuckboys forever / Hope I said it politely / And that’s about the psyche of Jamie and Mikey / You meet another pair better, highly unlikely / And if I can’t rap it, maggot, fuck, then fight me,” he raps as the track’s intensity builds. And builds.

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Fact Magazine (UK)
Their review was positive

Is there anyone on earth right now who sounds like they’re having a better time than El-P and Killer Mike? And if so, how about that for a turnaround? As a younger man, El-P crafted oblique, avant-garde hip-hop dystopias like 2002’s Fantastic Damage that gripped onto the underside of the industry as if by its fingertips. Killer Mike took the more overground route, signing to Outkast’s Aquemini imprint and rhyming on Speakerboxx/The Love Below – but his intense, politicised raps didn’t convert into sales figures, and shit soon got dark. It’s not a recipe for a party, exactly.

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The New York Times
Their review was positive

Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Rock & Roll Time” sounds like an after-hours session with famous friends, vintage guitars and a half-planned set list. Why not? Jerry Lee Lewis is a rebel, an authentic person; let him make an authentic record. Free him from restrictions! It isn’t that simple anymore, if ….

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