I did not like Run the Jewels II better than Run the Jewels I. That’s the only negative thing I can say about this album.
Run the Jewels II is another great piece of work by the best tag team in hip hop. I’ve been a fan of El-P’s work for quite some time now, but as great a producer as he has been for more than a decade he really didn’t make an album that could be on my short list for all time favorite hip hop release until the work he did on Killer Mike’s RAP Music and his own solo album Cancer 4 the Cure.
Please understand, I loved I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead and Fantastic Damage. And I love his instrumental work too. But on those albums he didn’t quite mix the vocals correctly with the beat. It was almost as if he was trying to say “Beats are my strength and these vocals are secondary”. And that was probably true, but lately, with Run the Jewels I and II, with his last solo effort, with what he’s done with Killer Mike, the man has come into his own as a complete wizard of hip hop. El-P is like a basketball player who came into the league as a defensive liability and towards the end of his careers starts finding himself on the NBA all defensive squad. He’s become one of my favorite lyricists and has become a rapper who’s flow I respect more and more.
Killer Mike is just a work horse. As far as skill, lyrics and passion for his craft go, Killer Mike is one of the most underrated rappers in the game. Now that he’s connected with El-P and has returned to some semblance of fame (on his own muthafuckin’ terms) with Run the Jewels, people will start rediscovering how good he’s been on the albums he’s released in the last decade and a half.
Run the Jewels is free and it’s as good as anything that’s come this year or the last few years. Killer Mike and El-P, the best tag team in hip hop, the Bushwackers of hip hop.