One of my favorite albums from 2013 was Run the Jewels, the 33-minute whirlwind of a collaboration between El-P and Killer Mike. Part of what made RTJ so enthralling was the feeling that it was completely of-the-moment: Two incredibly talented lyricists put their minds together and came up with some of their best one-liners, constantly trying to one-up the other throughout the ten songs. When it became apparent that the two would go back and do it all again, I had my doubts. I didn’t want an album that would sound forced, trying to recapture the energy that made the original so great.
Earlier today, El-P tweeted out a snippet of a new song that’ll appear on Run the Jewels 2, which quelled all my doubts. My mind went berserk imagining what a second album from these two would sound like. I tend to avoid losing it over previews, but this 100-second taste of RTJ2 is too good to pass up on gushing over. The snippet, “Blockbuster Night Part 1,” starts off with a hard-hitting industrial beat before Killer Mike jumps in to scold the listener for even imagining sleeping on the RTJ sequel (sorry, Mike!): “Last album voodoo, prove that we was fuckin’ brutal/ I’m talkin’ crazy, half-past the clock is cuckoo.” Mike’s verse and the beat grow in unison as his threats become more vicious while the bass builds. El-P comes in soon after and shows off his alliterative abilities when the beat cuts out: “I deal in dirty work, do the deed and then dash/ Ditch ’em.” I could keep going and quote every bar of their lyrical barrage, but just know that the collabortaive efforts of El-P and Killer Mike as Run the Jewels, trading quip for quip, still feel natural and organic and energy levels are as high as ever.