Benner’s B-Sides: ‘Run the Jewels 3’ raps in hopes of a revolution

Edward Benner reviews and analyzes the latest and greatest music releases in order to give them the exposure and praise they deserve. “Benner’s B-Sides” bridges the gap between the underground and the mainstream so that the reader can discover their new favorite artist.


“Run the Jewels 3” is a bombastic, exciting, and highly political hip-hop album from rappers El-P and Killer Mike. The album dropped on Dec. 24, 2016 and addresses key issues of today while working to incite positive change.

Killer Mike passionately raps, “You defeat the devil when you hold onto hope; cause kinfolk life is beautiful and we ain’t gotta die for them other men” on the stunning track “2100” off of Run the Jewels’ latest album “Run the Jewels 3.” The new album is a bold, defiant, and extreme political statement about the current state of America in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Topics ranging from media bias, racism, political corruption, and class discrepancies are tackled in the unique brand of thought-provoking, yet bombastic hip-hop perfected by the group.

Run the Jewels consists of MCs Killer Mike and El-P who are both passionate and extremely talented musicians known for their lyrical prowess and social awareness. The group’s last effort, “Run the Jewels 2,” released in 2014, was what elevated them to stardom. Their willingness to experiment and address controversial issues in a direct and uncensored fashion garnered them almost universal critical and audience acclaim.

“Run the Jewels 3” elevates the group to a whole new level. Their personality is fully revealed in this project. They find a happy medium between vulgarity, social commentary, and comedy that makes for some of their best verses ever recorded. The most noteworthy element of the album is the experimental and memorable production that perfectly complements the word-play and subject matter of the tracks.

Run the Jewels have a strong message to share within this album, and it is evident that they are unhappy with the present state of the country and its current trajectory. The second track, “Talk to Me,” explicitly criticizes President Trump and calls attention to the institutionalization of African-Americans, class distinction, and societal unrest. The fifth track, “Hey Kids (Bumaye),” calls for young people to rise up to

remove class and bring about equality by alluding to the biblical story of Cain and Abel. “Hey Kids” also features an incredible verse from experimental hip-hop artist Danny Brown who released the album “Atrocity Exhibition” this past year.

“Thieves! (Screamed the Ghost)” is one of the stand-out tracks on the album as it constructs a narrative of a conversation with a ghost who speaks to the terrible conditions of the world. It has thought-provoking commentary about the years of violence and pain that, like a fuse lit by anger, led to rioting. The track closes with a perfectly placed sample from Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

The next track, “2100,” is the single best song Run the Jewels have ever released. This eye-opening track calls attention to the fact that the hate in the world could lead to another holocaust and that the threat of nuclear war and revolution looms larger than ever. They also discuss how the media is corrupting society and that leaders don’t have enough care for the impoverished. Amidst the horrors described in the song, Run the Jewels urge listeners to educate themselves and become free of the influence of society, as well as minimize materialism and emphasize peace and love.

The final song, “A Report to the Shareholders/Kill Your Masters,” drives the message of unrest and defiance presented throughout the album home. They call for listeners to beware of politicians barking orders and express that choosing the lesser of two evils is not the answer. The song expresses that they originally formed the group to make money and have fun, but it has become more than that now as the current state of the world seems to break their hearts and makes them feel that they should take advantage of their social stature to share what they believe in and inspire change. The closing seconds of the album feature a searing and bitter verse from former Rage Against the Machine vocalist and previous Run the Jewels guest feature, Zack de la Rocha, who urges a violent break from the abusive cycle of power in America.

It is undeniable that the political message of “Run the Jewels 3” is the centerpiece of the album. One cannot help but admire the group’s audacity to rap about topics that their peers are too afraid to touch. Even if the message is at times violent, unsettling, or brash, the group takes a stand and is working to bring about a better world for all people. In their own words, “Hell coming and we got about a mile; Until it’s over I remain hostile…”

Edward Benner is an Entertainment Editor for The Patriot and