Members choose #runthejewels to get their debut self-titled album on translucent gold vinyl from VNYL

Who are they?

Run the Jewels is the dynamic hip hop duo of Atlanta rap legend Killer Mike and New York producer/rapper El-P. After originally meeting in 2011, the two decided to fuse their talents and release this debut self-titled LP in 2013, naming themselves after an old LL Cool J line. From there they have grown and expanded their massive cult following, identified by their signature symbol, a balled fist and pointed finger gun. They are the perfect blast from hip-hop’s past, repurposed into the modern hip hop sonic landscape. El-P’s production pays homage to his Brooklyn roots, taking the best elements from New York’s golden age of hip hop and modernizing them into a sound that feels fresh. On the other side, Killer Mike brings the deep south swagger to his bars that is synonymous with the sweltering heat of Atlanta and its rap legends T.I. and Outkast. This unlikely duo creates a unique fusion that is unparalleled in the hip hop world.

You’ll like if you enjoy

Outkast

Aesop Rock

Danny Brown

DJ Shadow

Kendrick Lamar

My take

This album stands on its own pedestal as a timeless record. When it was released in 2013 it sounded nothing like the Drake, 2 Chainz, and Rick Ross records that were dominating the mainstream at the time. Run the Jewels were never swayed to follow the trend of the current moment, and were more focused on crafting a sound that was enduring, a record that could be appreciated as much in 2018 as it was in 2013. It’s this attention to the artistry that makes me keep coming back again and again to this album. They’ve carved out their own lane that feels genuine and true to who they both are as artists, and this debut LP is the perfect encapsulation of their strengths as musicians and lyricists.

Favorite tracks

Banana Clipper

There’s something about the line “I move with the elegance of an African Elephant” that precisely illustrates what Run The Jewels is all about. They have the lyrical prowess to compete with artists like Kendrick Lamar, but the boasting energy and power to hang with the Rick Rosses of hip hop. This dichotomy is brandished best in “Banana Clipper,” which also includes an always-welcome verse from Outkast’s Big Boi.

Get It

El-P’s production is on full display in the song, where the cold, robotic, machine-like instrumental sounds like something that could have been on Kanye West’s Yeezus project. Lyrically, they embody the true message of Running The Jewels.

VNYL members can self-select #runthejewels as 1 of their 3 vinyl records this month. Click here to join.