Label: Fool's Gold

Run The Jewels is a start-to-finish adrenaline rush that upped the ante from R.A.P. Music, Killer Mike and El-P's previous work together. In boxing, a commonly used phrase is that "styles make fights." Such is the case on his tag-team album. To say that both Mike and El "rhyme well" would be gross oversimplification. Mike has described himself as the "elegant elephant," aptly, not only becuase of his size but to his ferocious delivery that is more blunt and emphatic. El-P is the wordier one, whose slippery cadence and laid-back vocals almost mask the violence in his lyrics until you dissect it. When the two go back-and-forth, the contrasting styles creates a rhythmic pattern that never bores.

Both rappers have their standout moments on the project. For Mike, it comes on his verse for "Sea Legs." "I rival all of your idols," he raps. "I stand on towers like Eiffel/I rifle down all your idols/Niggas will perish in Paris, niggas is nothing but parrots/I write for the writers that write for the liars that impress you and your parents." For El-P, it comes on "A Christmas Fucking Miracle," where he talks about his desolate beginnings on the streets of New York, "Love what you did with the place, it looks gorgeous/Cityscape where the blood of good men courses/And the dreamers are bull trapped in porcelain/Take a knee to the Gods and get horse shit."

The production on the album, entirely helmed by El-P, is frenetic from start to finish. From the booming synths on "DDFH" to the bells on "A Christmas Fucking Miracle," the nuances are rich and each song flows into the next. Still, it's a concise project with only ten songs. Both Killer Mike and El-P are veterans of the rap game, and this has given them the creative freedom to make music for the fans who can appreciate sophisticated lyricism. Run the Jewels is some of the best work in either of their respective solo catalogs. —Dharmic X