There’s a new Run The Jewels song out – and while it doesn’t have any cat sounds, it’s still one of the best new hip hop tracks we’ve heard in months.
Hugely respected solo artists in their own rights, Brooklyn’s El-P and Atlanta’s Killer Mike set off a fiery, explosive reaction when they combined forces to create Run The Jewels. It’s been nearly exactly a year since their acclaimed second album Run The Jewels 2 came out (my personal pick for album of the year 2014, by the way,) and while the pair have told fans that a new album won’t be out until 2016, Rubble Kings Theme (Dynamite) is a welcome, much-needed RTJ fix.
The track has two purposes: not only has it been released as part of the Adult Swim singles series (previously, we’ve seen new tracks from DOOMSTARKS, Danny Brown, Chromatics and plenty more), but it will be featured on the soundtrack to upcoming documentary Rubble Kings, about the emergence of hip hop in New York throughout the ’60s and ’70s. The Little Shalimar-produced soundtrack comes out on October 30 via Mass Appeal, and is slated to feature new music from Mr. Muthafukin’ Exquire, Ka, Roxiny and more. Watch the trailer here.
“Hip-hop culture was birthed from gang culture,” the film’s executive producer David Kennedy said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “The competitive spirit in hip-hop, whether it’s rapping, breaking or [spreading] graffiti all comes from the roots of gang culture, and how the gangs were territorial. Most of the founding fathers of hip-hop were ex–gang members.”
Last month, Run The Jewels released Meow The Jewels, a completely redone version of RTJ2, featuring remixes (using cat noises only) from Just Blaze, The Alchemist, Geoff Barrow of Portishead, Zola Jesus and more, as a free download. The cat-tastic Oh My Darling (Don’t Meow) even has its own adorable and terrifying video clip.
The scorching track is anchored by a slow and deliberate beat, with a grimy rhythm furiously bubbling and boiling beneath Mike and El’s verses, captivating in their own unique ways. As always, El-P’s killer production is such a huge part of what sets RTJ above so many other hip hop groups. Experimental and futuristic, his frantic instrumentals are tense, exciting and powerful.
Next week is the final week of the 2015 Adult Swim singles series – keep an eye out, the featured artist is still a mystery.