Run the Jewels
Jaime Meline (a.k.a. rapper/producer El-P) and Michael Render (a.k.a. rapper/actor Killer Mike) are like peanut butter and bananas—two great tastes that taste surprisingly great together. After collaborating on 2012 solo albums, R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure, Run The Jewels finds them officially joined as a duo. It’s an oddly intoxicating blend, with El’s metaphor-drenched wordplay complemented by Mike’s more streetwise flow. Musically, El’s beats trod an accessible middle ground between his cacophonous inclinations and grimy boom-bap simplicity. The title track blends reggae and dubstep influences with triple-time rhymes that slice like a ninja blade. “Banana Clipper” brings Big Boi into the mix for a braggadocious slammer destined to bang in clubs and car stereos, while “Twin Hype Back” features the legendary Prince Paul guiding listeners on an oddball psychedelic rap journey. Not every aural experiment here works. But killer tracks like “36-inch Chain,” “Sea Legs,” and “Get It” still make it one of 2013’s best hip-hop albums.