Run the Jewels is the punk band we need right now.
Yes, technically it's a hip-hop supergroup, but rappers El-P and Killer Mike are filled with the spirit of music revolutionaries, both on and off the stage. For starters, they’ve released each of their three LPs – Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2, and Run the Jewels 3 – free online as well as well as in a physical format. They donated to charity all the proceeds from sales of their cat-themed remix album, Meow the Jewels, a goofy gift to their fans.
During this past presidential campaign, Killer Mike went out of his way to support Bernie Sanders, taking the time to meet with the Vermont senator in the rapper’s hometown of Atlanta. Since then, and even before, the duo has been politically active. And their efforts will only pick up steam now that Pumpkinhead Hitler is in the White House.
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On the eve of the inauguration, Run the Jewels performed in Washington, D.C., for a show that was rescheduled after an earlier cancellation. They brought out former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach de la Rocha for a protest-filled evening that combined lyrical aggression and political frustration. Mike addressed the crowd at one point and said, “No matter who won, the day after tomorrow, this is our motherfucking country. I don’t give a fuck who is president. This is our country. And what we will keep this republic going on is truth, honesty, integrity, love, and democracy.”
When the duo formed, Interview magazine asked Run the Jewels the meaning behind its name. Killer Mike said it was the “most hardcore shit” he’d ever heard and went on to explain: “When I hear ‘Run the Jewels,’ I see the cast of Reservoir Dogs walking out of that diner together. It is tough-as-nails rap music without being belligerent or unnecessarily coarse. It's just dope, fun, real, raw rap shit.” And as raw as they can be, they will always be fun, but more important, they will always make us think and call us to action.