Back in the days, there were always debates within urban communities about mainstream artists versus underground artists — and the latter would always have more heavyweights and die hard fans. The underground has been rocky ever since Curtis 50 Cent Jackson Jr. rose to prominence in 2003, after a solid year of slaughtering the market with mixtapes. The UG has still thrived with juggernauts like MF Doom, Immortal Technique and, of course, Run The Jewels. Kendrick shouted out one-half of the duo, Killer Mike [currently running for Georgia State Legislature], on the song “Hood Politics,” recognizing the Atlanta veteran MC for his politically conscious (yet street) lyricism. The other half is NYC’s own El-P, who has contributed to “alternative rap” with production and pen work that spans two-decades.
In 2013, the two decided to go into business together as a super rap duo. The aftermath was their self-titled album Run The Jewels, and the follow-up, Run The Jewels 2, which peaked at number 50 on US charts. RTJ 2 was packed with much more socio-political mosh pit muzak. One of the hits that their a die-hard fan base flocked to on YouTube was “Jeopardy,” where Killer Mike bullies his way through El-P’s jazz influenced with a taste of rock sprinkled in with dirty south bass instrumental.
“I’m putting pistols in faces at random places; like bitch, give it up or stand adjacent to Satan.”
— Killer Mike
The pair continued their lyrical onslaught, paving the way for more MCs to link up on their next single, “Blockbuster Night Part 1.” Over the synth, door knocking, and machine infused built instrumental, the two MCs flow in a similar up-tempo pattern to Psycho Les and Juju from the world famous Hip-Hop duo The Beatnuts. The beat sounds like something N.E.R.D would have given N.O.R.E or Bubba Sparxx back in the early 00s. The song exhibits their disdain of what the music industry has come to, with all of the ill motives and agendas attached to fame — and how they are not willing to conform to Satan’s empire.
The question that was asked back then is the same question of the hour: “how come this good stuff don’t get airplay?” Run The Jewels, while famous, is still somewhat unknown in the mainstream world when their music deserves to be the soundtrack to commercials and films. Maybe it’s because their content is too offensive to white collared, tall, Jewish business executives; or maybe it’s because proceeds from their album sales are going to victims of police brutality. In particular, the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown. Either way, their numbers will grow — and real fans searching for the truth about the music industry can become apart of a new revolution.