On Christmas Day it was revealed that Santa loves a bit of Hip Hop and used his powers of festive telekinesis to warp the minds of Killer Mike and El-P to drop off one final sack of presents: Run the Jewels 3. With high expectations to surpass, the best double act since Ant & Dec have dropped something just as solid gold as the two fists on it’s cover.

With progression comes maturity as RTJ3 showcases a sound that slips into an atmospheric aesthetic that detracts from the debut’s hype building Run the Jewels’ and RTJ2’s passionate monologue of ‘Jeopardy’ to deliver something that eases back into the throne. ‘Down’ features swooping synthesisers, groove-producing drums and a male/female dynamic to create a tune that floats it’s way into the eardrums. Complete with hooks, the lack of intensity is lessened with a much more well-rounded performance instead. It’s a great way to kick off an album as it clearly announces just how self-assure Run the Jewels are in their craft.

The old RTJ traits do make a comeback as ‘Talk to Me’ comes in strong with a superb momentum building intro complete with bad toupee’s, spraytans and general Killer Mike badassness spitting a flow that immediately gets the blood pumping. The flows are delivered with urgency, and the abrupt guitar strikes combine with the pulsating bass and drums brilliantly to capture an instrumental that perfectly reacquaints everybody with RTJ.

RTJ3’s confidence allows the tracks to have a little sense of space between the instrumentals, making for beats and hooks that appear simple but come steeped in subtle hints of bass and synth in the background. The simplicity of the beats in ‘Legend Has It’, ‘Don’t Get Captured’ and ‘Oh Mama’ are impactful but provide just enough intensity and accessibility for the duo to lay down some solid bars repeatedly.

Run the Jewels killed it with Run the Jewels 3. These guys continue to produce some of the most exciting and original Hip Hop music in modern times and have shown three albums in that there’s no sign of a decline. An early album of the year contender already, this is great stuff.


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