Run The Jewels - 'RTJ4'

8/10

There is probably no bigger name on the political rap circuit right now as Run The Jewels. With three powerful and emotive studio albums under their belt that look to tackle the raw and real subjects of oppression, subjugation and injustice, the duo have built a career as the figureheads to an enlightened and forward-thinking approach to the reality that has begun to overflow in the United States. And while this record was originally promised earlier in the year, releasing it during the biggest mass protests the US has seen since the assignation of Martin Luther King Jr shows just how viciously relevant their message is.

But while many were expecting this to be more of the same political rage they are known for, 'RTJ4' feels more like a party record when compared to their previous releases. The lead single 'ooh la la' and subsequent offering on the tracklist 'out of sight' feel like the pair are looking to break into a more mainstream direction, giving us something with a more radio-friendly edge to it. But that dabbling never lasts long as the album quickly changes gears once again and delivers one powerful and visceral cut after another. Most notably, the timely and bitterly confrontational 'walking in the snow', which sees Killer Mike deliver the line "And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me / Until my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, I can't breathe". Words that will no doubt resonant with all those involved in the ever-rising Black Lives Matter movement.

Fans of the group will see this as yet another powerful addition in their already impressive catalogue of full-lengths, but to those new to them, 'RTJ4' will be met as one of those rare releases that will come to symbolise the struggles and outrage that are now the defining social issue of this year so far. Shocking and fun in equal measure, Run The Jewels have continued to toe the line between engaging and enjoyable hip-hop with a strong and ever-vicious political message.

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