It’s been a few years since I dipped into El-P’s sprawling back catalogue to select some of my favourite moments. This time round I’ve chosen an angle that he became synonymous with quite early on in his career, that of the dystopian visionary. George Orwell samples, Phillip K Dick references and even a shortlisted Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack only strengthened the association. But in reality these visions were always more grounded in reality than we would perhaps like to have believed. Especially on his more recent escapades with Run The Jewels, where the dystopia we feared in the future, morphed into the existence we populate in the present. Reality checks mistaken for bad omens. So on that positive note, let’s begin.Continue reading “Six Dystopian Favourites From El-P”
First of all, a happy new year to you guys. I hope you all managed to find some semblance of festive joy, in spite of the global shit-show we are all existing in right now. I thought I’d kick off 2021 with the latest from Run The Jewels, as they get their Pixar on in their new video for Walking In The Snow, in which we find them depicted as kick-ass RTJ action figures manoeuvring their way through a violent dystopian toy town. Pleased to see Bristol’s own Jacknife Films involved with the production again, alongside London-based Black Dog Films. RTJ4 is out now.
A very enjoyable new video here from Run The Jewels, thanks to a collaboration with Adult Swim, which sees the duo transformed into their animated forms. They are pursued by mechanized Nazi cops, eventually leading to a bloody showdown in a convenience store. The animation was done by Titmouse and the video was directed by Sean Solomon. RTJ4 is out now.
Its been a couple of months since RTJ4 was released ahead of schedule, in a successful attempt to ease some of our lockdown woes and provide a timely soundtrack while America justifiably burned, fuelled by a rage against police brutality. Suffice it to say the album was a success and is being hailed by some as the duo’s finest work to date. I’m not far off that assessment and tracks like Out Of Sight have definitely played a part in me getting there. Now the 2 Chainz assisted banger has been given its own video, which only adds to its allure. Starring the young Scottish lads from Get Duked, the video sees the boys breaking into a mysterious mansion laden with selected RTJ works of art. They eventually find the hands that were featured on the cover of RTJ4, which they proceed to put on, sending them on quite a trip in the process. The video was made by Ninian Doff and Drew O’Neill. RTJ4 is out now.
A joyful riot here from Killer Mike and El-P as they unveil the new video for Ooh LA LA. Having already recently leaked the audio track, the duo how return with a video which depicts the party that will be undoubtedly be thrown after the people rise up and the corrupt forces of capitalism are finally usurped; because let’s face it, it’s gotta happen one day. The video features cameos from Greg Nice, whose infamous sample is the driving force for the track, and also from Preemo, who adds some typically sharp cuts as the track comes to a close. There are also appearances from a few more faces, including Zack de la Rocha and Gangsta Boo, plus troupes of dancing prisoners, huge piles of burning cash and lots of Moët. According to recent Twitter chatter, there was a sample clearance issue with RTJ4, which El-P has decided to replace instead, so hopefully it won’t be long now before the full album is released. More news on that soon.
I am extremely happy to share with you TWO new singles from the forthcoming Run The Jewels album. Having teased us with the fact that the album was completed towards the end of last year, El-P has been fending off tweet after tweet asking when the album will actually drop. Early 2020 was the initial confirmation and then that got wrangled down to a Spring release not long after. Now as we live through an unprecedented world event, we at least a suitable soundtrack as this week has seem the emergence of two tracks from RTJ4. The first track, Yankee And The Brave, was premiered in a hilarious IG Live session the other night and then Ooh LA LA has just received its first spin thanks to Zane Lowe. You can hear the first single above and the latest one is below, featuring some supreme cuts from Preemo and a notorious sample courtesy of Greg Nice (apparently the first sample they could afford!). No official release date for RTJ4 yet, but stay tuned.
Danny Brown has recently released a video for one of the arguable high points on his acclaimed uknowhatimsayin¿ album. 3 Tearz features his friends and previous collaborators, Run The Jewels, plus some fire production from JPEGMAFIA, who Danny has become close with over the last couple of years. The video was directed by Colin Read and features, in Danny’s words, “100 camera-wielding bruisers, some champagne & a couple of blunts”. uknowhatimsayin¿ is out now on Warp Records. Continue reading “Danny Brown ft. Run The Jewels: 3 Tearz (Video)”
Another gem from the recently released double LP from DJ Shadow, as he reunites with tag team lyricists, Run The Jewels. This is their second collaboration, following on from 2016’s Nobody Speak, but with this latest track taking on a whole different vibe to its predecessor. It’s worth noting that El-P’s verse about a dog leaping off a building after discovering his owner’s body, is based on the real-life and death events of El’s grandma, which makes it all the more poignant. The track is taken from Our Pathetic Age, which is out now on Mass Appeal Records. The lyric video was made by Adam Dunn aka Evil Ice Cream Pictures. Continue reading “DJ Shadow ft. Run The Jewels: Kings And Queens”
Another piece in the puzzle that is Danny Brown’s new album, which is due for release on Friday. On the latest single, the Detroit rapper calls in his pals Run The Jewels, as the three of them lace a wild beat from JPEGMAFIA. The track is taken from uknowhatimsayin¿, which is due for release on Warp Records.
Last year I did a round-up of some of my favourite insults from jewel runner and indie rap pioneer, El-P. Not content with ending it there, I have now tackled the larger and perhaps more rewarding task of selecting my favourite guest verses that he’s blessed us with over the last two decades or so. Before I started actually writing this, I had a pretty good idea in my head of how this Top 5 would end up looking, but it’s not until you start researching this sort of thing that you realise just how many tracks El-P has guested on across his career. So here we go with MY five favourite guest verses from the man himself (capitals on the ‘MY’, don’t @ me!).