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


When Saints Go Machine – Love And Respect video featuring Killer Mike

One of the clichés about Scandinavian countries is that they are neat and tidy, well ordered, clean. The same could not be said of Copenhagen four-piece When Saints Go Machine’s second full-length album, Infinity Pool. The opposite, in fact. It’s a record born out of an atmosphere of chaos, Which is not to say that the result is disjointed. It’s harder, darker and more synthetic than its predecessors. It opens with “Love And Respect,” which features a guest vocal from Killer Mike, who freewheels over a chugging, synth-drenched beat. Elsewhere, “Dead Boy” sees frontman Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild’s tremulous falsetto digitized and then floated over a semi-ambient soundscape, while “Infinity Killer” pitches skittering sound effects against a low-end drone.

Infinity Pool is more unapologetically electronic than anything the band have done before. On their debut album, Konkylie, they tried to make machines simulate nature, whereas on Infinity Pool, When Saints Go Machine are trying to capture a feeling of the absurdity of mankind trying to construct nature. Most of their productions consist of several layers in each song. With Konkylie, each of those layers almost fought to get the most attention, whereas, on Infinity Pool, they tried to make many of the layers sound immediate and simple. This album is slower and harder, yet it still has that signature When Saints Go Machine longing feeling, the glue that holds the album together.

Vonslid says the band felt nervous about the direction they took on Infinity Pool, unease that they were operating outside their comfort zone. “But,” he adds, “that’s a good thing. Whenever you feel a bit scared about putting something out, that’s how you should feel as an artist.”

When Saints Go Machine’s Infinity Pool is out May 28th on !K7. Watch the video for Infinity Pool’s’ first single, “Love and Respect,” below. It’s directed by Frederik Hviid and Sebastian Birk who describe it as “set in a dystopian future, the one remaining revolutionary keeps the last hope of the world in the trunk of his car, while the totalitarian authorities desperately want it back.”


Infinity Pool tracklisting:

01. Love and Respect feat. Killer Mike

02. Infinity Killer

03. Iodine

04. Yard Heads

05. System of Unlimited Love

06. Mental Shopping Spree

07. Degeneration

08. Mannequin

09. Order

10. Webs

11. Deadboy

12. Slave to the Take in your Heaven

“The band’s hard-to-pin sound, equally inspired by clubland standards and experimental art-pop, has evoked comparisons to Arthur Russell’s left-field disco and Depeche Mode’s dystopian New Wave, as well as the ethereal croon of Antony Hegarty.” – WXPN’s “World Café: Next”

“Pioneering a new and distinctive Copenhagen sound is the band When Saints Go Machine, whose hypnotic electro-pop is held together by the lead singer Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild’s soaring falsetto vocals”

– The New York Times’ T Magazine blog

Press Releases

Bonnaroo 2013 Festival Scheduled Line-up

Definitely favouring a more urban feel than previous years, Bonnaroo 2013 is definitely seeming to be one of the year’s most appealing festivals. Manchester, Tennessee is now used to putting on the prestigious festival event, with the White Castle in Murfreesboro being amongst the best staff to advice you about the various precautions to take in planning your trip. Buy your tickets today when they’re first released to the public, as I’d be extremely surprised if they didn’t sell out.

Click here to purchase Bonnaroo 2013 tickets.

Some of the Hip Hop/Electronica highlights at the 2013 Bonnaroo include:

Wu-Tang Clan, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, R. Kelly, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, A$AP Rocky, Porter Robinson, A-Trak, Earl Sweatshirt, Big K.R.I.T., AraabMUZIK, Action Bronson

And lets not ignore the other performers of other genres, hardly to be sneezed at:

Paul McCartney,
Mumford & Sons,
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers,
Pretty Lights,
Daniel Tosh,
The National,
The Lumineers,
David Byrne & St. Vincent,
Passion Pit,
The xx,
Grizzly Bear,
Animal Collective,
Of Monsters and Men,
ZZ Top,
Beach House,
Cat Power,
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes,
Jim James,
“Weird Al” Yankovic,
Tame Impala,
Soul SuperJam ft. Jim James with John Oates, Zigaboo Modeliste (of the Meters), Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more TBA!,
Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation Superjam with special guests
Boys Noize,
Glen Hansard,
Gov’t Mule,
Gaslight Anthem,
Portugal. The Man,
Wolfgang Gartner,
Billy Idol,
Sam Bush & Del McCoury,
Dwight Yoakam,
Local Natives,
Matt & Kim,
Dirty Projectors,
Trombone Shorty,
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension,
Noam Pikelny & Friends,
Amadou & Mariam,
Father John Misty,
The Tallest Man On Earth,
Walk The Moon,
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Vaccines,
Paper Diamond,
Holy Ghost!,
Divine Fits,
Mike Birbiglia,
Purity Ring,
Frank Turner,
Allen Stone,
Lee Fields & The Expressions,
Fatoumata Diawara,
Two Gallants,
The Sheepdogs,
Four Tet,
Death Grips,
Wild Nothing,
John Fullbright,
Django Django,
Killer Mike,
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti,
twenty | one | pilots,
Milo Greene,
Lord Huron,
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit,
Charli XCX,
JEFF The Brotherhood,
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors,
Sea Wolf,
JD McPherson,
Trixie Whitley,
Deap Vally,
Patrick Watson,
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers,
The Stepkids,
Aoife O’Donovan,
Matthew E. White


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.


Killer Mike – R.A.P Music album review

If hip hop is dead then Killer Mike’s R.A.P Music is the undead zombie that has come to remind us all what is used to be and what it could be. R.A.P Music has all of the ingredients of a classic album. It manages to mash the old with the new with such ease that everyone should be looking to this guy to see how to do it right.
“This album was created entirely by Jaime and Mike,” explains the rapper at the beginning of the 80’s throwback track “JoJo’s Chillin”. Jaime Meline, also known as Brooklyn based producer El-P handled the production on the entire album, and these two are obviously a match made in musical heaven.

R.A.P Music opens up with an ode to Mike’s hometown (Atlanta) with “Big Beast”, featuring fellow southerners T.I. and Bun B. Although this is the only track with big name features on it, it is probably the weakest one on the album. This proves that Killer Mike doesn’t need a star studded album to produce some high quality content.

Mike shows his affinity for the arts with lyrics like “This is John Gotti painting pictures like Dali / This is Basquiat with a passion like Pac,” in the melancholy life lesson that is “Untitled”. He also shows his versatility in the next song high energy song “Go,” amped up with riffs and plenty of bass.

This album still manages to be fresh while bringing an 80’s flow along with some vivid storytelling that is comparable to Slick Rick’s classic record “Children’s Story”. When the electronic bleeps and gritty video game sounds kick in along with the intense delivery of a story about corrupt cops, you can literally imagine yourself in the bedroom seeing this grisly scene take place.

There are no standout tracks on the album, but that is simply because every single song can stand on its own. There are no fluff pieces, as every track has it’s own important story or lesson that Killer Mike tells in an honest, yet extremely effective way. With El-P’s innovative production and Killer Mike’s vintage Ice Cube-esque delivery, what we have here is pure hip hop genius. Is this possibly the best rap album of 2012? To quote the electro distortion heavy track “Butane”, I’d have to say “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”

Media Tour Dates

Killer Mike to tour with El-P in support of *R.A.P. Music* + New tracks on Adult Swim




Atlanta-born rapper and Grammy®-Award winner Killer Mike will release his self-proclaimed finest work to date with the debut of R.A.P. Music on May 15 from Williams Street Records. The album, which was produced entirely by El-P, Brooklyn’s resident laureate hip hop artist, producer and entrepreneur, features a line-up of tracks that both deliver on rap’s most basic level and simultaneously document the socio-economic discrepancies and racism that still plague America today. With the album’s title acronym representing “Rebellious African People’s Music,” it takes its influences from all genres of music black people have rebelled through, including gospel, jazz, soul, rock and funk.

The R.A.P. Music album page is now up on Adult Swim and features two unheard tracks off the LP, “Jo Jo’s Chillin” and “Southern Fried”. Listen to clean versions of the tracks here or if your ears prefer it dirty listen to “Jo Jo’s Chilln” here and “Southern Fried” here.

This summer Killer Mike takes his talents on the road in support of R.A.P. Music. Album collaborator El-P will join Killer Mike along with Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire and Despot on an all-star North American tour. Check out the tour dates below.

Explore – R.A.P. Music

Listen – “Jo Jo’s Chillin

Listen – “Southern Fried

Pre-order – R.A.P. Music

Killer Mike
R.A.P. Music
(Williams Street)
May 15, 2012

1. Big Beast (feat. Bun B, T.I. and Trouble)
2. Untitled (feat. Scar)
3. Go!
4. Southern Fried
5. Jo Jo’s Chillin
6. Reagan
7. Don’t Die
8. Ghetto Gospel
9. Butane (Champion’s Anthem) (feat. El-P)
10. Anywhere But Here (feat. Emily Panic)
11. Willie Burke Sherwood
12. R.A.P. Music

Tour Dates

06-19 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade *#^
06-20 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues *#^
06-21 Dallas, TX – Granada *#^
06-22 Houston, TX – Warehouse Live *#^
06-23 Austin, TX – Mohawk *#^
06-25 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent *#^
06-26 San Diego, CA – Casbah *#^
06-28 Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex *#^
06-29 San Francisco, CA – Regency *#^
06-30 Portland, OR – Hawthorne *#^
07-01 Seattle, WA – Neumo’s *#^
07-02 Vancouver, British Columbia – Fortune *#^
07-05 Minneapolis, MN – Fineline *#^
07-06 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge *#^
07-07 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop *#^
07-08 Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig *#^
07-09 Toronto, Ontario – Hoxton^
07-11 Boston, MA – Paradise *#^
07-12 Providence, RI – The Met *#^
07-14 Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero #^
07-15 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel *#^

* with Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire
# with Killer Mike
^ with Despot

Press Releases

Killer Mike, Ice Cube & MySpace apply Pressure with controversial new video debut on the Fourth of July

Killer Mike, Ice Cube & MySpace apply “Pressure” with controversial new video debut on the Fourth of July

Atlanta rapper, Killer Mike, debuts his controversial new video “Pressure” exclusively on MySpace. The politically charged song & video offers an honest and discouraging view on the current state of affairs in America.

“With ‘Pressure’ I tapped into a frustration that’s bubbling in all parts of this country,” explains Mike about the song’s origin. “And you can only get upset for so long before you stop holding back. So I let loose and said some shit that no other rapper has the balls to say. We as black people should not be just blaming whites but making black politicians, social and religious leaders take responsibility and accountability for selling out their community. I touch on the Police Department being the State sanctioned killers of blacks, the Sean Bell aftermath, the police killing a 92 year old grandmother in Atlanta, among other current issues.”

For the video Killer Mike and director Giovanni Hildalgo opted to match Mike’s fury with stripped down performance shots and an onslaught of images that inspired it.

” Pressure” which features Ice Cube and was produced by The Bizness is from Mike’s highly anticipated album, I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II. The album has already begun to receive early praise with a 4.5 out of 5 rating in an upcoming issue of URB Magazine, it is set to drop on SMC Recordings, Tuesday, July 8th.


1. Intro
2. 10 G’s
3. Can You Hear Me
4. 2 Sides feat. Shawty Lo
5. Pressure feat Ice Cube
6. Big Money, Big Cars feat. Chamillionaire & Messy Marv
7. God in The Building
8. Super Clean/ Super Hard feat. 8Ball & MJG
9. Woke Up This Mornin’
10. Bang!
11. Grandma’s House
12. If I Can’t Eat Right feat. Gangsta Pill & Rochelle Fox
13. I Gotcha
14. I’m The Shit!!!
15. Can You Buy That feat Rock D
16. You See It feat. S.L. Jones
17. Good-Bye (City Of Dope)