Album Choice - Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 2

Run the Jewels 2
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Artist: Run the Jewels
Genre: Hip-Hop & Rap
Label: Mass Appeal

It's the return of the diamond geezers. El-P and Killer Mike worked together on each other's solo albums back in 2012 and the mavericks obviously found enough common ground to lead to further exploration. Those collaborations on R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure led to last year's initial Run the Jewels' release, a set of grimy, punchy, raw, zesty and crunchy beats and rhymes. The Run the Jewels buzz catches both principals at the top of their game. Since his Company Flow and Def Jux label days, New Yorker El-P has been an integral part of the underground hip-hop scene, with a serious run in recent years of on-point productions. Killer Mike originally appeared with Outkast's Big Boi and Dre in 2000 but it was R.A.P. Music which rejuvenated his career and took him away from his Atlanta barbershop. For their second album, it's a case of upping the ante all round and then some. The beats are harder, sharper, tougher and fiercer (check the expanse of sound which El-P marshalls on All Due Respect), while Killer Mike hits new heights when he takes to the microphone to stridently pronounce on matters of society, values, sex, politics, violence, religion and drugs. Even alongside an accomplished, bright wordsmith like El-P, Killer Mike just soars above the fray. If you want to know where hip-hop should be at in 2014, you've come to the right place. But it's the fury they unleash which is really the mark of this album, whether it's the heavyweight bass in Angel Duster or how Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha takes things even further on Close Your Eyes. As statements of intents go, Run the Jewels 2 is a state of the nation address you should not ignore.