I’ve been listening to EL-P since the days of Rawkus Records (and subsequently famously denounced the label), since the days of SoundBombing compilations, since Cannibal Ox, since he ran Def Jux, through his solo material and of course, his crowning relationship with his cohort Killer Mike, as Run The Jewels.

They have an alchemy that is rare. That two essentially aged rappers are able to command such a large fervent audience and make music that bangs harder, digs deeper and explore 21st American issues with the camaraderie and swagger of cartoon villains is a large part of their appeal and one of the most impressive things about Run The Jewels.

That foundation was built on Killer Mike’s debut album Rap Music, which El-P was brought in to produce a track on. He ended up producing the whole album after Mike who wasn’t familiar with El-P’s work realised he was working with someone special, who was able to produce songs with enough low-end to detonate bombs, to create beats that were dystopian, claustrophobic but comically rendered.

In tribute, and in no way definitively, here are 10 of my favourite El-P productions from across his career. This could go on for dozens more.


1.

Company Flow – ‘End to End Burners’ (1997)

Early El-P had some funk to it that he regained and reworked in his work for Run The Jewels alongside the earth-shattering low-end. ‘End to End Burners’ was my gateway into the world of underground hip-hop. I remember seeing the group: EL-P, Big Juss and Mr Len perform it on Jo Whiley talk show for Channel 4 back in the day. “Diss Me On the Internet,” must have been a novel reference at the time.


2.

Company Flow – 8 Steps To Perfection (1997)

Funcrusher Plus was one of the first alternative rap albums I heard and it’s mood was akin to Gravediggaz at the time – a weird curio album, except for me, this was king. ‘8 Steps To Perfection’ is uncharacteristically laid-back for an El-P production but it lets the MCs roam. There are no sirens in the distance, just a watery synth line, some gurgling robotic noises and a head-nodding low-end.


3.

Cannibal Ox – ‘Vein’ (2001)

The Cold Vein is grimey. Not in the way of genre but in the way, it holds humanity down on the floor and forces it to eat the dirt. The world is a dark place and there is rubbish in every corner. Like much of the album ‘Vein’ proceeds as if it’s ricocheting off society’s worst nightmares of itself. El-P produced the entire album for MCs Vast Aire and Vordul Mega and was a part of the group. The Cold Vein is one of the all-time greats.


4.

El-P – Deep Space 9MM (2002)

“Sign to Rawkus? I’d rather be mouth fucked by Nazis unconscious,” is how El-P addresses his former partnership with the label on his 2002 debut Fantastic Damage, a caustic and dystopian album that would form the blueprint his trademark style. ‘Deep Space 9MM’ taking its name from the Star Trek series and combining it with a handgun reference has one of El’s most recognisable beats, a clattering beat that is combined with El at a time in Def Jux’s lifespan when the MCs (like Aesop Rock) were twisting and ciphering their words into an artform.


5.

El-P – Poisonville Kids No Wins (2007)

The closing track on El-P’s I’ll Sleep When Your Dead as akin to an expansive zoom-out of a cityscape with Cat Power wooing atop the track. This is like if El produced a Portishead song.


6.

El-P – Fuck The Law (2008)

Slightly cheating somewhat, but the job of a good producer is also knowing when to employ the right sample and this track takes Modeselektor’s ‘Edgar’, A German electronic song and recasts it in his own image. This is from the WeAreAllGoingToBurnInHell Megamixxx2 mixtape.


7.

Killer Mike -‘Big Beast’ with Bun B, T.I and Trouble (2012)

An homage to Public Enemy. El-P applies some old-school boom bap with some grade-A dangerous low-end on a highlight from his collaboration with Mike on Rap Music, an album he produced in full and is responsible for RTJ.


8.

El-P – ‘The Full Retard’ (2012)

From 2012’s Cancer 4 The Cure, his last solo album, ‘The Full Retard’ is a maniacal laugh in the form of a track.


9.

Run The Jewels – ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)’ (2014)

With Zach De La Rocha on board (not their first time together), this was the song that made Run The Jewels 2 lift into the stratosphere and completely put Mike and El in a different league after the excellent RTJ1.


10.

Run The Jewels – ‘Call Ticketron’ (2016)

By RTJ3, Mike and El are running at full clip and ‘Call Ticketron’ mainlines the best parts of El’s production techniques – a nod to the old school of ‘It Takes Two’, a booming minimalism, a club-rap pace and a great sample.


Posted on March 30th, 2017

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Killer Mike and El-P aka Run The Jewels are the latest artist to appear on NPR public radio’s Tiny Desk concerts. Over 12 minutes, they play RTJ3 tracks ‘Talk To Me’, ‘Legend Has It’ and ‘A Report To The Shareholders’.

Even in an office environment, Run The Jewels kill it.

Stay tuned to the end for Killer Mike’s speech about politics and society.

Run The Jewels play the Olympia on March 31st.

Posted on February 7th, 2017

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Run the Jewels dropped their third album and you know what that means.

Killer Mile & El-P today announced some European tour dates that start on Wednesday March 29th in Limelight, Belfast before hitting the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on Thursday March 30th and onwards to Manchester, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Mayrhofen in Austria for Snowbombing.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday from Ticketmaster. Price TBC.

Run the Jewels tour dates

Mar 29 2017 Belfast, United Kingdom @ Limelight
Mar 30 2017 Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia
Mar 31 2017 Manchester, United Kingdom @ Albert Hall
Apr 01 2017 London, United Kingdom @ Roundhouse
Apr 03 2017 – Apr 08 2017 Mayrhofen, Austria @ Snowbombing
Apr 05 2017 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg
Apr 06 2017 Brussels, Belgium @ AB Main Hall
Apr 07 2017 Paris, France @ Élysée Montmartre

The physical release of the album comes on gold vinyl.

Posted on January 16th, 2017

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El-P and Killer Mike’s partnership continues at full clip with the release of their third album. When they first joined together as producer and rapper on Killer Mike’s RAP Music album and the subsequent RTJ mixtape, the thrill and novelty of two very different rappers from two different sides of the U.S. was a big driving force.

“Bullying bastards and beating on beats” raps Killer Mike on ‘Legend Has It’, summing up their appeal in short on the third track on RTJ3. These old masters never quit but when they came together they had too much fun to stop. Their economy at running shit and everything else is unparalleled. There is no filler here. Full clip til the end. Even if RTJ3 is their longest album yet, it never feels like it.

RTJ3 is aware of a post-Trump word that their art occupies. They are still rallying behind hope even if there is a feeling of futility creeping in.

“You defeat the devil when you hold on to hope.”

“But we all know we’re afraid / so we just simply cry and march again.”

“Run the Jewels’ll make last breaths Brexit.”

“I don’t ever want to have to load a clip / only hunt bliss / I am still a kid in my heart but these motherfuckers sick”

“Poor folks love us / the rich hate our faces / talk too loud / won’t remain in our places.”

El-P productions come the closest he’s come to his dystopian Def Jux solo times (and Company Flow for that matter). Tracks are built on denser textures but still have that clarity of force. ‘Legend Has It’ is built on a wobbling industrial percussive low-end that few have mastered, ‘Call Ticketron’ is a 21st century take on ‘It Takes Two,’ ‘Stay Gold’ matches echo-chamber beats with lyrics about their respective partners, ‘Thursday In The Danger Room’ is an forgiving confrontation of a friend’s killer, ‘Panther Like A Panther’ adds some booty club EDM beats to their palette with aplomb and ‘Oh Mama’ has the album’s best bassline, not bad for a song about mothers.

Guests Danny Brown, Tunde Adebimpe, Boots, Trina and Kamasai Washington add contrast while Zach De La Rocha drops in at the last moment uncredited to rage alongside them.

“Not from the same part of town but we both hear the same sound coming and it sounds like war and it breaks our hearts.”

Now three long-players in, Run The Jewels as a foundation is as hard as cement. If RTJ2 was “two buddies, operating at their creative peak,” then RTJ3 is the sound of Run The Jewels digging in deeper, digging their heels and delivering an album with the same immediate resonance as the first two releases but with a wider palette and the same antagonistic spirit. More downtrodden but resolutely and thrillingly hostile.

Posted on January 5th, 2017

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DJ Skarface took beats from DJ Shadow’s discography and paired them with acapellas from Run The Jewels’ first album and it is gift.

It’s a mashup that makes sense as the trio collaborated last year. RTJ3 dropped over the Christmas period too.

Tracklisting

Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
DJ Shadow – Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain
Run The Jewels – Twin Hype Back
DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like Part 4
DJ Shadow – UNKLE Main Theme
Run The Jewels – Job Well Done
DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Part 2
DJ Shadow – In Flux
Run The Jewels – Banana Clipper
DJ Shadow – Building Steam With A Grain of Salt
DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
Run The Jewels – Get It
DJ Shadow – You Can’t Go Home Again
Run The Jewels – DDFH
DJ Shadow – Trench Battle Beat/Walkie Talkie
Run The Jewels – Christmas Fucking Miracle
DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like Part 3
DJ Shadow – Organ Donor

Posted on January 5th, 2017

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El-P and Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels will drop their third album RTJ3 on January 13th as a free release digitally and on streaming services.

The album features Danny Brown, Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, BOOTS, Trina, and saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

A physical release follows on 20th January and a pre-order is here. Tracklisting below.

‘Legend Has It’ is the third song we’ve heard from the pair from the album. For the artwork, the RTJ symbol was cast in metal and chrome and gold-plated before being photographed by Tim Saccenti.

“For us, the RTJ1 hands were about ‘taking what’s yours’ – your world, your life, your attitude. The RTJ2 hands were wrapped in bandages, signifying injury and healing, which represented the growth in ideas and tone of that album. For RTJ3 the bandages are off, the chain is gone and the hands have been transformed into gold. For us this represents the idea that there is nothing to take that exists outside of yourself. You are the jewel.”

Previously; Talk To Me / 2100 featuring Boots.

RTJ3 Track list

1. Down (feat. Joi Gilliam)
2. Talk To Me
3. Legend Has It
4. Call Ticketron
5. Hey Kids (Bumaye) (feat. Danny Brown)
6. Stay Gold
7. Don’t Get Captured
8. Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe)
9. 2100 (feat. BOOTS)
10. Panther Like a Panther (Miracle Mix) (feat. Trina)
11. Everybody Stay Calm
12. Oh Mama
13. Thursday in the Danger Room (feat. Kamasi Washington)
14. Report to the Shareholders/Kill Your Masters

Posted on December 1st, 2016

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A Reddit user has uncovered a potential tracklisting for new The xx album through Shazam. The band are on Annie Mac’s radio show on BBC Radio One tonight.


Martin Shkreli Premieres Unreleased Wu-Tang Clan Music After Trump Win


How Music Works this week: Back to the Temple: Johnny Moy on the golden years of Irish club culture


Kraftwerk Buenos Aires show reportedly cancelled due to city ban on events with “synthesizers or samplers”


The A Tribe Called Quest tracklist for new album We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service is here. André 3000, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Busta Rhymes, and Consequence are among the guests. The group are on SNL this weekend which is hosted by Dave Chapelle.


Dublin music blogger Shrem’s been counting down his 100 favourite disco tracks of all-time.


Run The Jewels released a new song ‘2100’ featuring Boots in the aftermath of Trump’s victory to be President noting:

For our friends. For our family. For everyone who is hurting or scared right now. Here is a song we wrote months ago. We weren’t planning on releasing it yet but… well it feels right, now. It’s about fear and its about love and its about wanting more for all of us. It’s called 2100. We hope it finds you well.

Killer Mike was a very vocal Bernie Sanders supporter and last week, he urged people not to vote unless certain demands were met which he then clarified. In an interview yesterday Mike said: “I think poor people got angry, and I think there just happen to be, by this country, more poor angry white people.”


Hud Mo released more music from his Ded Sec – Watch Dogs 2 video game soundtrack:

Posted on November 10th, 2016

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Longitude Festival just added a load of great acts to the festival today.

  • The Lumineers
  • Run The Jewels
  • The Coronas
  • Kurt Vile & The Violators
  • Annie Mac
  • Diplo
  • Vic Mensa
  • Daughter
  • Stormzy
  • Laura Mvula
  • Nina Kraviz
  • Christine & The Queens (YASS QUEEN)
  • Perfume Genius
  • Kelela
  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Section Boyz
  • Lucius
  • The 2 Bears
  • Shura
  • Bears Den
  • Izzy Bizu
  • Rationale
  • Marlon Williams
  • Frances
  • Declan Mckenna
  • Elias
  • Hayden James
  • Hare Squead
  • Joseph
  • Barq

Plus here, the lineup of the Red Bull Woodlands stage:

Friday:

  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Stevie G
  • Adultrock (Live)
  • Mix & Fairbanks
  • Colin Perkins
  • Colin Devine

Saturday:

  • The 2 Bears
  • Jordan McCuaig
  • DJ Deece
  • Handsome Paddy
  • Jack Dunne
  • Joni (Live)
  • Long Island Sound

Sunday:

  • Hayden James
  • Ghostboy
  • Kelly-Anne Byrne
  • Bobby Analog
  • Boots & Kats
  • Dorian James
  • Jack Thompson

Lineup day by day at a glance

Longitude Day by Day Breakdown - Final

Tickets

Ticketmaster – Weekend tickets €159.50 / Day tickets €64.50 

All ticket prices are inclusive of booking fee – subject to licence

Posted on April 29th, 2016

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Follow the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify. This week’s additions include new songs from Lil Silva, Bonzai, Hundred Waters, Whitney, Barq, Asa Moto, Jessy Lanza and Anna Of The North.

Hit the last page for the fullSoundcloud playlist.


1.

DJ Shadow

‘Nobody Speak’ (Feat. Run The Jewels)

DJ shadow_profile_color Derick Daily web

A collaboration that raises up Shadow back to where he belongs.

Last week, DJ Shadow returned with news of an new album The Mountain Will Fall prefaced with a title track that came across like serene trap music. That is to say, it doesn’t give much away for what is to come on the album.

Along with guests Nils Frahm, Matthew Halsall and old-school MC Ernie Fresh, it’s Run The Jewels which piqued the interest of many, myself included. RTJ can’t really do any wrong and their presence on ‘Nobody Speak’ adds some vitality and focus to Shadow’s still able and nimble production.

‘Nobody Speak’ is part of the Run The Jewels’ Record Store Day release out tomorrow. ‘VRTJ’ is a Virtual Reality cardboard viewer that comes with a download code for the collaborative track.


2.

Lone

‘Backtail Was Heavy’

12973251_1059926174046223_143360532162569739_oWonky electronic day-glo rave style

Most tracks that employ old-school rave breaks and samples feel like period pieces or homages. Matt Cutler aka Lone has a unique style of his own that he can bend into different existing shapes. For this once-off online release, his penchant for day-glow wavy synths are a great match for some old school rave-to-your-grave snatches and rhythm. The last minute of the track are the bones of the operation but it’s the suitable nod to the past that makes this a winner.

http://nialler9.com/?p=37962&preview=true


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Posted on April 15th, 2016

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Here are the top 10 tracks of the last week:

  1. Samantha Urbani – ‘1 2 3 4′
  2. Tyler, The Creator – ‘Fucking Young’
  3. little xs for eyes – ‘Funk Island’
  4. Ratatat – ‘Cream on Chrome’
  5. Jealous of the Birds – ‘Goji Berry Sunset’
  6. Empress Of – ‘Water Water’
  7. Run The Jewels Ft. SL Jones – Bust No Moves
  8. Made In Heights – ‘Forgiveness’
  9. And So I Watch You From Afar – ‘Redesigned A Million Times’
  10. i am niamh – ‘Wonderland’

Like your new music on Spotify instead? Follow the Nialler9 New Music playlist on Spotify. Updated weekly.

Posted on April 20th, 2015

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Director A.G. Rojas has delivered a video that features a raw struggle between a cop and a black kid and in doing so brings physical humanity to makes it a powerful video. The cop is played by Shea Whigham who you might recognise as Eli from Boardwalk Empire and the kid by Keith Stanfield who will play Snoop Dogg in the upcoming Straight Outta Compton film.

Said the director:

“When Run The Jewels sent me this track, I knew we had the opportunity to create a film that means something. I felt a sense of responsibility to do just that. We had to exploit the lyrics and aggression and emotion of the track, and translate that into a film that would ignite a valuable and productive conversation about racially motivated violence in this country. It’s provocative, and we all knew this, so we were tasked with making something that expressed the intensity of senseless violence without eclipsing our humanity. For me, it was important to write a story that didn’t paint a simplistic portrait of the characters of the Cop and Kid. They’re not stereotypes. They’re people – complex, real people and, as such, the power had to shift between them at certain points throughout the story. The film begins and it feels like they have been fighting for days, they’re exhausted, not a single punch is thrown, their violence is communicated through clumsy, raw emotion. They’ve already fought their way past their judgments and learned hatred toward one another. Our goal was to highlight the futility of the violence, not celebrate it.”

For El-P of Run the Jewels “this is a vision of a seemingly never-ending struggle whose participants are pitted against each other by forces originating outside of themselves.”

Adds partner Killer Mike “this video represents the futile and exhausting existence of a purgatory-like law enforcement system. There is no neat solution at the end because there is no neat solution in the real world. However, there is an opportunity to dialogue and change the way communities are policed in this country. Salutes to AG Rojas for his unique take on the subject matter and to Shea and Keith for giving us their all and bringing it to life.”

Run The Jewels was my favourite album of 2014 and they’re playing Forbidden Fruit.

Posted on March 26th, 2015

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Forbidden Fruit have announced their lineup for the festival to take place in Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin city from Friday May 29th – Sunday May 31st.

The lineup leans heavily on electronic and hip-hop with:

Wu Tang Clan, Fatboy Slim, Run The Jewels, Booka Shade, Joey Bada$$, Ejeca, Earl Sweatshirt, Cyril Hahn, Mr Scruff, Dusky and Bakermat.

Tickets

Early bird tickets are €99.50+ are on sale Thursday at 9am from Ticketmaster.

Posted on January 28th, 2015

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