Favorite Track: Out of Sight Least Favorite Track: Never Look Back
What I believe to be the most consistently fantastic rap project of the 2010s, Run The Jewels, have finally released their long-awaited 4th studio album, RTJ4. I have been a fan of RTJ since the release of their second studio album, RTJ2, which featured tons of political imagery and hilarious one liners. In 2016, they absolutely blew my expectations out of the water with what I think could be argued to be the best rap album of the 2010s: RTJ3. Naturally, my expectations were very high for RTJ4, especially due to the current divided political climate and Killer Mike’s tendency to write great lyrics revolving around these topics. This record is not only filled with emotionally potent bars depicting police brutality and institutionalized racism, but it is equally jam-packed with catchy hooks, hilarious lines, and unparalleled flows from Killer Mike and El-P. The record has plenty of tracks that are clear-and-cut rap bangers practically begging to be blasted out the car window, my favorite example being the track “out of sight”. This track features my favorite beat on the record. Killer Mike and El-P deliver some of the best flows and verses I have heard from RTJ, and not to mention the great verse from 2 Chainz here. The record also offers plenty of emotional songs regarding the social and political issues going on in the world right now, featuring guest artists spanning from Mavis Staples and Josh Homme on the track “pulling the pin”, to none other than Zach De La Rocha and Pharrell on one of the best songs on the record, “JU$T”. The former track has my favorite lyrical play on the record, with a fantastic line about “slave owners posing on yo’ dollar”, and Zach De La Rocha delivering a verse worthy of his Rage Against The Machine heritage. RTJ have again proven that they are the masters of making fantastic rap for every occasion, whether you are here for the mindless bass-bumping trap cuts about drugs and women, or for beautifully written poetry about racial injustice, executed in a truly emotionally exuberant way. No matter how you slice it, if visceral, politically charged rap records are your cup of tea, RTJ4 is more than worth your time.