Run The Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike) – Run The Jewels album review

Everybody be cool this is a robbery! This has been a friendly reminder from EL-P and Killer Mike aka the hip hop duo Run The Jewels, and don’t forget the name.

In many ways, the collaboration between these two rappers was something of an inevitability. Both are painstakingly devoted to releasing consistently hard-hitting material while maintaining an intentional and cultivated outsider ethos. Both artists are still riding the momentum of acclaimed albums in 2012, wherein El-P handled production for Killer Mike’s effort R.AP. Music, and Killer Mike contributed the standout feature for El-P’s Cancer 4 Cure. El-P and Killer mike are also both known for delivering aggressive lyrics dense with unexpected meaning and humor. It’s safe to say these guys have a pretty similar mindset, and the fusion of their voices into one album has unleashed a menace, laying claim to everything it touches.

Setting the stage for this heist is El-P’s unique production style, laden with heavy, gritty bass-synth, searing guitars, heavy drum breaks and trap style 808’s. The beats on this album hit you in the gut without becoming overly maximal in the pursuit of a full-spectrum sound. El-P show a little more restraint than usual in his production here, leaving plenty of room for himself and formidable associate Killer Mike to wreak havoc on the tracks.

The duo tag teams many of their verses, throwing it back to a golden era of hip hop in which MCs show a tangible rapport with each other, one pushing the other to new heights. Lyrically El-P and Killer Mike sling acid, or maybe shrooms; both reference the influence of psilocybin. However, this is not enlightened flower-power rap, and Run The Jewels positions itself totally opposed to such from the very beginning. On the first verse of the album, El-P spits “Oh dear what the fuck have we here?/These motherfuckers all thorn no rose.”

Killer Mike and El-P pull no punches in putting rap on notice of their scheme to co-opt the game, yet they both appear impossibly relaxed and in their element on Run The Jewels. The effect is pure badassery with a vengeance. Killer Mike warns “Yes I bag the clams/Anyone object to the styles, get a smile and a backwards hand.” The way El-P and Killer Mike assert themselves has always been in your face without going over the top. Run Jewels doesn’t wear a chip on its shoulder, just your chain around its neck.

Press Releases

El-P & Killer Mike are Run The Jewels and announce tour dates

El-P and Killer Mike, frequent collaborators and two of the most celebrated names in rap in their own right, confirm rumors of a joint LP and tour today as Run The Jewels. El-P’s self-produced Cancer 4 Cure reanimated Brooklyn rap last year with his signature lyrical conviction and bruising production; he also handled all of the beats for Mike’s R.A.P. Music LP, which dropped a few weeks earlier. Both won the acclaim of media and fans across the globe and led to 2012’s legendary, hugely successful “Into The Wild” tour. One year later, the duo return to satisfy fan demand and their own creative urges with Run The Jewels, cementing their musical alliance with a full album of uncompromisingly raw, forward thinking hip-hop.

As a gesture of appreciation, El and Mike will release the self-titled Run The Jewels LP for free with tastemaking Brooklyn label Fool’s Gold this June, a partnership amongst innovators that feels totally appropriate. The independent label (founded by DJs A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs in 2007) has acted as a springboard for emerging talent since it’s inception, breaking international artists like Danny Brown, Duck Sauce and Kid Cudi. Fool’s Gold’s support for hip-hop iconoclasts is unparalleled, and the label will lend their midas touch to the Run The Jewels project by creating and releasing a limited run of specialty vinyl and merchandise for die-hard fans to be sold only on the Run The Jewels tour and through Fool’s Gold’s website and physical store in Williamsburg.

Run The Jewels will follow up the release with a sprawling US tour alongside Despot (currently putting the finishing touches on his Ratatat-produced debut album) and ex-Das Racist member Kool AD. The duo will perform their new material as well as solo songs for audiences who seemingly conjured this dream bill by sheer willpower. This summer, rap’s odd couple is on a robbing spree…



WED 7/10 OTTAWA, ON Ottawa Blues Fest

THU 7/11 TORONTO, ON Hoxton

FRI 7/12 MARIAVILLE, NY Camp Bisco


SUN 7/14 LOUISVILLE, KY Forecastle Festival


WED 7/17 ST. LOUIS, MO Firebird

THU 7/18 IOWA CITY, IA Gabe’s Oasis

FRI 7/19 MINNEAPOLIS, MN Varsity Theater

SAT 7/20 MADISON, WI UW Memorial Union

SUN 7/21 CHICAGO, IL Pitchfork Festival

WED 7/24 EDMONTON, AB Starlite Room

THU 7/25 CALGARY, AB Republik

FRI 7/26 VANCOUVER, BC Biltmore

SAT 7/27 SEATTLE, WA Capitol Hill Block Party

SUN 7/28 PORTLAND, OR Hawthorne Theatre

TUE 7/30 SAN FRANCISCO, CA The Independent

THU 8/1 LOS ANGELES, CA Echoplex

FRI 8/2 SANA ANA, CA The Observatory

SAT 8/3 PHOENIX, AZ The Crescent Ballroom

MON 8/5 AUSTIN, TX Mohawk

TUE 8/6 BATON ROUGE, LA Spanish Moon

WED 8/7 ATLANTA, GA Masquerade

THU 8/8 ASHEVILLE, NC Orange Peel

FRI 8/9 CHAPEL HILL, NC Cat’s Cradle

SAT 8/10 WASHINGTON DC 9:30 Club

MON 8/12 PHILADELPHIA, PA Union Transfer

TUE 8/13 BOSTON, MA Paradise

WED 8/14 NEW YORK, NY Webster Hall

Press Releases

El-P releasing Cancer 4 Cure instrumentals

“[Cancer 4 Cure] sheds the bullshit of the past and is stained with the weary residue of an incalculable number of cigarettes, weed deliveries, bodega runs, and blind turns” – PITCHFORK

To cap off a year of career highlights, including producing a pair of the years most critically heralded albums (his own and Killer Mike’s R.A.P. Music), playing festivals like Coachella and it’s sister cruise ship festival, and collaborating with a diverse litany of artists like Gucci Mane, Slaughterhouse, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and Danny Brown, El-P re-contextualizes Cancer 4 Cure by releasing the instrumentals alone on October 23rd via Fat Possum. The sonic canvases that served as backdrops for assertive lyrics about Brooklyn, confusion, and personal strife take on new life as standalone compositions, and inevitable fodder for the mixtape recycling plant. Cancer 4 Cure’s synthesizers and forward-looking arrangements meet bruising low-end and sonic references to Bomb Squad-era B-sides for a timeless sound that’s intricate details are made even more evident when absorbed without verses.

After wrapping a European tour and playing live dates throughout the summer, El will support the instrumental release by bringing his 4-pieceband to both the Halifax Pop Explosion on October 17th and Moog Fest on October 26th in Ashville, North Carolina.


El-P – Stay Down video

El-P – Stay Down video

El-P, TV On the Radio’s Jaleel Bunton, and Mr. Killums the squirrel face a bloodthirsty audience.

Stay Down” by EL-P
Ft. Jamie Meline as “El-P” & Jaleel Bunton as “Nick Diamonds”

Director Timothy Saccenti
Editor Ryan McKenna @ The Mill

Flame artist Russell Mack
Additional Flame Mario Caserta
nuke compositor Liz Berndt
Colourist Damien Van Der Cruyssen

1st AD Ian Lynch
2nd AD Owen O’Leary

Production Company Starworks Group
Producer Brody Baker
Associate Producer Connor Doherty

Director of Photography Carlos Veron
1st AC Rasa Acharya
2nd AC Charles Alexander

Art Director Peter Mayer
Prop Master Stewart Gerard

Gaffer Rome Peterson
BB Electric Peter Milmoe
Key Grip Marc Mayer
BB Grip Holly Hosman
Swing Darrel Day

Casting Matt Wulf

PA Richard Walker
PA Kaream Appleton
PA Phil Nolan


El-P – Cancer4Cure album review

Brooklyn rapper and producer, El-P, just released a radically contemporary LP on Fat Possum Records. His flow is angular and viciously intelligent.  The instrumentals are diverse and cutting-edge.  The pervasive drone is not unlike the constant noise levels in Brooklyn. A lot of songs, for example “Drones Over BKLYN” sound influenced by Death Grips’ aesthetic of metal and heavy machinery (not to mention the political relevance of drones).

Stand-out single “The Full Retard” is a machine gun party. Quoting deceased friend Camu Tao, El-P demands, “So you should pump this shit, like they do in the future.”  After a while there’s a hilariously sarcastic voice that comes in: “When harmony and love reign, no longer do we live in a society bent on its own destruction… Children of every race, creed, and religion frolic in fields of golden dandelions.” He’s clearly making fun of rappers who indulge in flaky bullshit. Then it’s cut off by a barrage of rapid gun-fire, El-P smirks and repeats “little bitch” for a while.

In terms of collaboration, El-P doesn’t mess around. “Oh Hail No” (described to Skinny Mag as, “Some rebel shit from the garbage”) has verses from both Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire and Danny Brown. “Tougher Colder Killer” (inspired by a poem about a soldier’s guilt after battle) features Killer Mike and Despot. “True Story” has chopped vocals from Heems (Das Rascist). However, “Works Every Time” featuring Paul Banks of Interpol is lukewarm, but whatever.

The subject matter is original and affecting. Opening track, “Request Denied” is about the exuberance and irreverence of youth. Escapist yet destructive pass-times are the basis of “Works Every Time”. “The Jig Is Up” and “Sign Here” are the only songs about women… but “The Jig Is Up” is based on Groucho Marx’s famously self-depreciating line, “I wouldn’t want to be part of any club that would have me” and the interrogative “Sign Here” is about sex and domination. “For My Upstairs Neighbor” has a bored and shocking refrain, “If you kill him I won’t tell…” Madness, paranoia, death, control, technology – definitely more relevant than smoking weed and thinking up clever nicknames for yourself.

You really should pump Cancer4Cure like they do in the future. El-P is on point.


El-P – Stay Down video live on David Letterman

El-P – Stay Down video live on David Letterman

El-P performs “Stay Down” with Nick Diamonds from the forthcoming Cancer4Cure



At SXSW, UK grime innovator Dizzee Rascal and Brooklyn indie rap icon, El-P each provided incendiary sets that were enthusiastically received by those lucky enough to get in. Dizzee and El are re-joining to do 12 dates at select locations in the US and Canada. Tour dates below. Dizzee Rascal’s Maths+English on Definitive Jux out April 29th.

Rolling Stone on Dizzee at SXSW: Dizzee Rascal delivered forty minutes of blistering, grimy hip-hop.The set drew heavily from his latest, Maths + English (finally seeing a physical U.S. release April 29 after being out in the U.K. for nearly a year)

Pitchfork on Dizzee at SXSW: fans were treated to a talented MC with a crew who likes shout-outs and shoes. His set drew as much from excellent early material as it did from Maths + English, and the high-BPM beats kept the show flowing and energetic.

Wired: this U.K. rapper is the reason anyone knows “grime” is a music genre.

May 8 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
May 9 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
May 10 New York, NY – Webster Hall
May 11 Boston, MA – Middle East
May 12 Ottawa, Ontario – New Capital Music Hall

May 14 Detroit, MI – Crofoot Ballroom
May 15 Chicago, IL – The Abbey
May 16 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Club
May 19 Seattle, WA – Neumos
May 20 Portland, OR – Berbati’s Pan

May 21 San Francisco, CA – 1015
May 22 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey

Press Releases

Dizzee Rascal album Maths + English to be released in stores and online through Definitive Jux this Spring. Includes two new studio tracks and an El-P remix



Previously only available to US residents online digitally, the CD and digital formats of this 2007 Mercury Music Prize nominated album will be swimming stateside with added tracks and other bonus materials this April 29th on hip hop stalwart Definitive Jux Records.

UK rap Superstar Dizzee Rascal changes up his signature style on his new album MATHS + ENGLISH. The UK grime rapper gets help from fellow Brits Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner & Lily Allen as well as US gangsta heads of state UGK and takes notes from other kinds of music, like crunk, drum and bass, classic old school rap and of course the genre he practically invented singlehandedly – grime.

Winner of the coveted UK Mercury Music Prize in 2003 for his debut album, ‘Boy In Da Corner’, Dizzee Rascal has emerged as one of the most successful and important rappers to ever take flight from the UK. On this, his third album, he demonstrates his mastery of craft, staying true to his hardcore vision while continuing to expand artistically and introduce wider audiences to his unique viewpoint.
And despite all the accolades, the US market is still ripe with anticipation and promise for one of the world’s premier hip hop artists.

The best rapper this(The UK) country’s ever produced, period…. Next to Dizzee Rascal everybody looks pale, uninteresting and irrelevant. -UNCUT

Here once he growled his rhymes through gritted teeth or abortively gulped them down altogether, now the beats let him breathe. -BLENDER

An eclectic, break-dance-worthy Slick Rick reincarnation. -ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Brilliantly original. -MOJO

Dizzee’s despairing wail, focused anger, and cutting sonics places him on the front lines in the battle against a stultifying Britain, just as Pete Townshend, Johnny Rotten, and Morrissey have been in the past. -PITCHFORK


1. World Outside [3.07]
2. Pussyole (Old Skool) [3.26]
3. Sirens [3.30]
4. Where’s Da G’s [4.54]
5. Paranoid [2.36]
6. Suk My Dick [2.56]
7. Flex [3.30]
8. Da Feelin’ [3.56]
9. Bubbles [3.28]
10. Excuse Me Please [3.38]
11. Hard Back (Industry) [4.11]
12. Temptation [2.34]
13. Wanna Be [3.23]
14. U Can’t Tell Me Nuffin’ [3.31]
15. G.H.E.T.T.O
16. Driving
17. Where’s Da G’s (El-P Remix)

* new tracks are “G.H.E.T.T.O”, “Driving” and “Where’s Da G’s” remix by El-P

El-P Reviews

El-P – Fantastic Damage review

El-Pby Andrew Lunny

It was back in 1997 when Company Flow followed up their ‘Funcrusher’ EP with ‘Funcrusher Plus,’ an album which established Co Flow, Rawkus Records and much of the current underground hip-hop scene. ‘Funcrusher Plus’ wasn’t a perfect album, but for importance it’s almost unrivaled even now. “First is the originator – me” former Co Flow mainman El-P shouts on his long-awaited follow-up ‘Fantastic Damage,’ an album which, like ‘Funcrusher Plus,’ remakes hip-hop in a brutal new image. Under his own Definitive Jux label now instead of Rawkus, El-P has surpassed all previous accomplishments with this brilliant record.

Original Article (extended)

Aesop Rock El-P Reviews

I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead by EL-P album review

El-P coverreview by Todd E. Jones

Theme music for the apocalypse has been provided by El-P. If “apocalyptic hip-hop” was not a term I just created for this article, El-P would be the genre’s father. Originally signed to Rawkus Records with the independent group Company Flow, El-P has risen to mythical heights in the world of underground / independent hip-hop. He is a white emcee/producer from New York who cannot conveniently fit under only one label. He is not a backpack rapper. He is not a religious zealot. He is not a gimmicky wannabe who is exploiting the culture. Simply, El-P is his complicated self. Founder of the now legendary independent record label, Definitive Jux, El Producto has earned his much deserved respect. As a label founder, El-P used Definitive Jux as a vehicle to release dense and high quality albums by C Rayz Walz, Cannibal Ox, The Perceptionists, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, and others. His cacophonic production style is gloriously unique and dramatically powerful. His drums have a juggernaut force and his melodies are lush soundscapes. He has contributed production for albums like “The Cold Vein” by Cannibal Ox, “Black Dialogue” by The Perceptionists, “I Phantom” and “Mo’ Mega” by Mr. Lif, and “Year Of The Beast” by C Rayz Walz. From start to finish, El-P’s “Fantastic Damage” was his challenging and thought-provoking debut solo album. Standout cuts included “Blood”, “Deep Space 9MM”, and “Fantastic Damage.” A true hip-hop producer, El-P also released varied instrumental albums. Released on Thirsty Ear Records, “High Water” showcased his talents by capturing his production skills with jazz band. Released on Definitive Jux, “Collecting The Kid” was a refreshing compilation of tracks from various projects El-P had been working on. “Constellation (Remix)” (featuring Stephanie Vezina) and “Oxycontin” (featuring Camu Tao) were exceptional tracks. Fans were yearning for El-P’s next complete solo album. When people thought El-P could not top “Fantastic Damage”, they were amazed when El-P’s sophomore album surpassed his previous work. “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” is a glorious, intelligent, and powerful album. While the “Fantastic Damage” LP was described as somewhat difficult listening, “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” is exceptionally constructed, instantly entertaining, and intellectually memorable. Hip-hop will never experience another album like “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead”.

“I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” contains multiple tracks of epic proportions. The opening cut, “Tasmanian Pan Coaster” possesses a powerful crescendo and thick bouncing rhythms. El-P’s chorus is a shocking epiphany, “…This is the sound of what you don’t know killing you / This is the sound of what you don’t believe still true / This is that sound of what you don’t want still in you / TPC motherf*cker / Cop a feel or two…” The song features Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta. Mr. Dibbs also contributes turntable cutting to the track. During the song’s conclusion, the use of a distorted guitar intertwined with an operatic vocal sample creates a devastating cinematic sound. “Flyentology” features Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails on vocals. Even people who are sick of Trent Reznor will probably appreciate the song. El-P uses Reznor’s vocals in a very intelligent way. He is careful not to overuse Reznor too. Since the song does not clash with the other tracks, the album’s flow is maintained. The animated music video for “Flyentology” gives the song a complete new dimension while telling a creative and fantastic story. El-P’s view on religion and spirituality is extremely refreshing. “…There are atheists in the foxholes / There is no intellect in the air / There are no scientists on the way down / Just a working example of faith verses physics…” His creativity leaves much to interpretation. The epic conclusion of the album is “Poisonville Kids No Wins”. El-P’s soft spoken, heartfelt delivery is enhanced by the song’s structure. The beat stops and restarts throughout the track, gaining more momentum and power every time. The massively hypnotic chorus is a thick, melodic beat crescendo. Chan Marshall of Cat Power adds poignantly ethereal vocals during the song’s finale, “…Never, ever, ever gonna get that way again…” Cinematically epic, these songs bring hip-hop to creative heights.

The album also includes tracks that are shorter in length but not quality. “Drive” is possibly the most instantly appealing song on the album. For the chorus, a sped-up vocal sample is used before each line. El-P’s verses are wonderfully frustrating. El-P raps, “…I’m not a depressed man / I’m just a f*cking New Yorker / Who knows that sitting in traffic with these bastards is torture…” El-P’s “Drive” is proof that he can create a somewhat catchy yet clever solo track that has the potential to be a single. “Up All Night” is a bouncy, intelligent track with thick, electronic melodies and swirling drum rhythms. In the hook, El-P states that he is not a person to be taken advantage of, “…I see you all regardless / I know what lies are like / I might have been born yesterday, sir / But I stayed up all night…” Another bounce-driven track with a memorable chorus is “Smithereens (Stop Cryin)”. El-P’s quick double-time flow adds a cool diversity to the album. He even adds melody to his hook. “No Kings” is a tight cut which features a deep-voiced Tame-One (formerly of Artifacts). “Run The Numbers” (featuring Aesop Rock) is a catchy track which will have you shouting “Find those detonators!” El-P’s melodic repetition of “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na” makes the song catchy, fun, yet still intelligent. Another powerful track, “The Overly Dramatic Truth” is sexually harsh and insanely aggressive.

Only a handful of songs do not have the same intensity or replay value as the other tracks on the album. “Habeas Corpses (Draconian Love)” is an overdone track with the repeated hook: “I found love on a prison ship.” Cage contributes vocals to the track. Although Cage and El-P work well together, the album’s other songs are more satisfying. The only other somewhat filler track is the short and angry “Dear Sirs”. To call these tracks filler is somewhat unfair because the depth and meaning of each song does shine with creativity.

“I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” displays a major maturation in El-P. His production talents have become extremely unique, but massively emotional. As an emcee, he has begun to master his flow and delivery as well as his cadence. Although “Fantastic Damage” was a solid album, “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” is incredibly tighter and more accessible. The album’s accessibility never forsakes the usual complicated beauty of his music. While the album may also be considered a challenging listen compared to most hip-hop CDs, “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” is beautifully challenging and executed with an intellectual precision. Although the album may go over people’s heads, intelligent and open-minded music lovers should appreciate the record’s multiple layers of creativity. Simply, “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” by El-P is a complicated modern hip-hop classic.