Collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike was many years in the making, but Run the Jewels, the blindingly excellent LP the two veteran rappers released as a free download in late June, came together one afternoon in December.
“We were on that Coachella Cruise,” remembers Mike, an Atlanta native who’s released six solo albums and aided the production of more Dungeon Family discs than you could count on four hands. “We had three goddamn piña coladas in that bungalow where they had grass at. El [the NYC rapper who cofounded the influential but now defunct Definitive Jux label] was like, ‘Fuck, let’s do it together.’
“We got back, went up to the woods in upstate New York, and started laying down tracks.”
The project was born out of the sessions for Mike’s R.A.P. Music, a critically successful 2012 LP produced entirely by El-P. The two had toured constantly since the release of that album and, when they returned, wanted nothing more than to kick back.
“It’s always more fun with a partner,” says Mike. “Then you have somebody to laugh at immediately. A lot of the shit that me and El said, the other would just step off the microphone and look at the person, like – when he talks about ‘Riverdance cleats on your face for the finisher.’
“That was fucking hysterical.”
“That’s just some laugh shit,” El-P adds. “If you’re a rapper, that’s where you start. No rapper starts out any other way than coming up with fun ways to explain that everybody else is trash and you’re the shit.”– Chase Hoffberger
ATX experimental atmospherics.