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Killer Mike & El-P

Run the Jewels

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., Sept. 6, 2013

Phases & Stages

Killer Mike & El-P

Run the Jewels

Black thunder, white lightning. "The most beef and broc on your fucking block." Run the Jewels, the free, downloadable tag team from longstanding East Coast rappers Killer Mike and El-P, doubles as the freshest, most exhilarating rap album of 2013: two long lost brothers pushing prophecy ("crew drops, do up your squad without nuance"), and clowning on any coward who'd try to rip it in their realm. Killer Mike moves "with the eloquence of an African elephant," nimbly lumbering around El-P's precise, harrowing production like 330 pounds of cocoalicious lovin'. Sparring partner El straight up "fucks in [his] church shoes," dancing rhythmic, lyrical waltzes around "Sea Legs," one-liners that culminate in the Def Jux co-founder telling whoever the hell can hear it that he'll "put a tooth through the flesh of the palm that you jack with." His production spins, winds, whirls, and wallops, like the stop-cut jukes striking the Big Boi-featured "Banana Clipper" ("We the old Atlanta, new Atlanta, future of the city") and the NYC subway repetition banging back and forth on "Get It." This is raw, back-alley boys' club shit; 32 minutes of two pros throwing haymakers. "Porno for piraters, to the crooks it's relaxing," El-P attests, to which Killer Mike kicks back: "Dogs fight to the death. You say you better, you better be."

****

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