Hello again, Ladies and Gentlemen!
My name is Ash, and today we will talk about the new album of Run The Jewels – RTJ4. In the same way as with its predecessor, RTJ3, this album once again showed and proved that the youthful, newschool hip-hop loses on all fronts in comparison when professionals come to work. Of course, you can justify as much as you like the pseudo-jumps of various underperformances of these rappers while boring yourself from their attempts to rap their own lyric on top of the phonogram, but this time we will not do this. Instead, let us turn to the very example of hardcore hip-hop, from which you will not only get the best listening experience in hip-hop of 2020, but also draw interesting thoughts, especially if your brain somehow endured the lyrical content of recent weeks.
The album definitely appeared on time. The listening hunger of lovers of high-quality hip-hop coincided with the socio-political mood of Western audiences, and the fact that most people are still sitting on isolation and not really want to go outside (some because of quarantine, and some because of protest movements). Therefore, the gentlemen from the group decided to give the album out for free a few days before its official release, and at the same time set up a fundraiser for charity. And it really strikes the two aforementioned problems of the year instantly.
According to the lyrics, we have the same expected-traditional style of arranging words and lines so that the album can be perceived simultaneously as an aggressive description of all rappers’ values (money, weapons and criticism of the modern music scene), and as personal socio-cultural reflections about the current state of affairs in America. Here there are lines about how American political elites bring society either to despair or to uncontrolled violent protest. In the same way as in previous albums, the problems of racism and police brutality, initiated and covered from above, are described in great detail here. What is characteristic is that all these socio-political comments are very competently inserted into various media references and intertwined with the same traditional symbols of rap hustle.
As a result, we get the very same creative message, where behind all the template interpretations about the album’s protagonist stating “I am a strong-seasoned-killer of everything and everyone” there is a good social, or even personally motivational meaning to it. What is characteristic, it is motivation in the lyrics that is most pronounced, despite the fact that it is indicated quite rarely in the text. Well, in terms of form, we finally see a whole range of rhymes and rhythms that are similarly different from all other rap albums of the year in quality. With all this, even the triplet-flows from both rappers is perceived perfectly just because of the text, and because of the variety that is happening in musical content.
And if the lyrics are still a fairly stable and are performed according to the well-groomed path for the RTJ, then there was a quite noticeable upgrade with the music. To begin with, before this album I always noted the beats and instrumentals of the guys, considering them one of the most upscale and original to date. This is because (with rare exceptions) RTJ’s instrumentals are based on the use of old-school samples from classic rock-jazz-funk records, but also on their own compositions on synthesizers and analgoue instruments. Moreover, they have always been able to arrange their tracks so that even the most radical changes in music – even the time signatures and the complete change of the melodic theme, were always organic and gave the impression of a pleasant musical surprise.
So, in RTJ4 we hear even more of this variety. The beats can calmly and perfectly change every new eight bar in rhythm with a new synthesizer, sample, or simply a vocal part (for example, from the RATM vocalist), which brings the album even closer to art-progressive and experimental music. At the same time, the beats are so densely and thickly packed with various vocal parts that you never have time to get bored, but instead you are always surprised at how fast each track flies during the listening. Therefore, the album can easily switch from the old-school-breakbeat instrumental to a newschool trap beat or a sampled beat from old-school recordson the go. And the finale with jazz improvisation leaves the same lively aftertaste as the legendary album of Kendrick Lamar TPAB.
In total – even if other albums from strong rappers came out, this album still remained one of the best for this year. Yes, the second half of the year is still ahead, but I am sure that RTJ4 will still remain in the top due to the fact that it perfectly entertains and grooves, that its multi-layering and diverse sound is revealed differently each time, and, of course, because the content of the album is perfectly balanced by the “streetness” of the lyrical form. 5 out of 5 – finally 2020 receives the main contender for the title of best western hip-hop.
(Thanks for reading till the end! Leave a comment about your opinion and about what should I talk about next. Or tell me what you thought on Twitter.
Plus, I stream on Twitch on Fridays, so you can ask me anything live if you catch me there. And now, that’s it for today, thank you once again and I’ll see you in the next one! Goodbye!)
Меня зовут Эш (mynameis0ash), и я делаю обзоры на музыкальные альбомы и видеоигры. Этот блог - это платформа для обсуждения всего самого интересного в мире музыки и видеоигр. Поэтому, присоединяйтесь, подписывайтесь и будем обсуждать! Также я делаю музыку для хип-хоп группы Mba-Kayere (@mbakayere).Learn more