Run the Jewels joined Rick Rubin for the latest episode of his Broken Record podcast. Killer Mike was not shy about his undying love for El-P, calling their union “a marriage made in heaven.”
Run the Jewels spoke to Rubin about their latest release, RTJ4, which came out in June. It’s one of the year’s most critically acclaimed records, with many critics extolling the prophetic nature of its anti-police brutality lyrics.
Rubin also asked the pair about the formation of Run the Jewels. The project grew out of Killer Mike’s 2012 LP R.A.P. Music, which El produced. “I’m just hopelessly optimistic and I’m a romantic and I knew the first three beats El ever played me that for the rest of my career, this motherfucker’s going to be producing me,” said Mike.
After completing R.A.P. Music, El asked Mike to help him out with a mixtape, which would eventually turn into Run the Jewels’ debut LP. He warned Mike there was no money involved, but Mike could care less. “I knew the more we did it together, the better the chances of us keeping doing it together was. I was in love,” said Mike.
The high praise didn’t stop there, though. The conversation turned to El-P’s unconventional beats, which are influenced by classic hip hop acts such as EPMD and Run DMC while also embracing the influence of heavy rock music and incorporating some more experimental sounds.
“He the best, man,” said Mike. “He the best rapper-producer on motherfucking earth. And that’s it. Ain’t nothing else to it.”
Killer Mike and El-P had both been on the scene for more than 15 years prior to forming Run the Jewels. R.A.P. Music was Mike’s fifth solo album. A week after its release, El-P released his third solo LP Cancer 4 Cure. Mike had also featured on Outkast’s 2000 release Stankonia, while El cut his teeth as a member of New York hip hop trio Company Flow in the 1990s.